Kyrgios wins in first clay court match on tour since Rome 2019
Kyrgios needed three sets to overcome Mackenzie McDonald and will next meet another American, Tommy Paul, in the second round in Houston
The 26-year-old Kyrgios came from a set down to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 52 minutes on the red clay courts of Houston, which will be his only clay court event of the season. The Australian has said he will skip the rest of the clay court stretch and return to the tour for the grass court swing after the French Open.
This was Kyrgios’ first match on clay since the Rome Masters in 2019. Up next for Kyrgios is a clash against seventh seed Tommy Paul, of the United States. The American advanced when his opponent Peter Gojowczyk. retired while trailing 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 3-2.
Kyrgios has had a stellar start to the 2022 season, reaching the second round of the Australian Open, the quarter-finals in Indian Wells and the fourth round in Miami, scoring wins over two top 10 players, and improving his ranking from No 137 to No 94 in the process.
Tiafoe, Johnson join Kyrgios in Houston second round
American Frances Tiafoe, who is now being represented by IMG, also reached the second round of the tournament with a 6-4, 6-4 win over countryman Marcos Giron.
In other first-round matches at Houston, wild card J.J. Wolf upset the No 8 seed Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 6-4 in his first ATP Tour level match on clay while two-time Houston champion Steve Johnson also advanced, beating compatriot Denis Kudla 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
Johnson will meet another American John Isner next. Defending champion Cristian Garin, of Chile, who came into the tournament with a five-match losing streak, came from 4-1 down in the decider to defeat American Jack Sock 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.