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Feeling younger, Kyrgios breezes into second round in Indian Wells

Playing just his second ATP singles event since the 2021 US Open, Nick Kyrgios displayed some of his trademark firepower as he beat Sebastian Baez in straight sets

Nick Kyrgios at the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Nick Kyrgios at the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

ATP Indian Wells Masters 1000 | Results | Schedule

Playing his first ATP singles event since early August, Australia’s Nick Kyrgios scored an impressive 6-4, 6-0 win over Argentina’s Sebastian Baez to advance to the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

After calling an early end to his 2021 season after the Laver Cup in September, Kyrgios pulled out of the warm-up events for the Australian Open due to asthma and testing positive for COVID-19. While he reached the second round in singles, the 26-year-old thrilled the crowds at the Australian Open in doubles as he and Thanasi Kokkinakis stormed to the title.

In his first match since that Australian Open run, Kyrgios, a wildcard entry, dominated Baez, who has jumped nearly 200 positions to his current career-best ranking of No 60 over the past 12 months. The Australian, on the other hand, has seen his ranking drop out of the top 100 and is currently ranked 132nd in the world.

But the Australian proved why he can still be a dangerous player when his game is on, needing only one hour and 12 minutes for the straight-sets win, hitting 12 aces, winning 90 percent of his first serve points and saving all four break points on his serve.

I feel like I’m playing some pretty good tennis

Speaking on court after his win, Kyrgios said, “Every time I play a match now, I don’t take it for granted. I was out for a fair chunk of the last couple years, and there have of course been a couple world issues that hit, so I don’t take anything for granted playing on this beautiful stadium at this beautiful event. I’m just in a different mindset. I kind of feel like I’m a bit younger mentally, I feel fresh again, and obviously I’m healthy again with my left knee. I feel like I’m playing some pretty good tennis.”

The Australian, who is also teaming up again with Kokkinakis in the doubles this fortnight, signed off with a “Be Positive” message on the camera lens on court after his win.

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