CINCINNATI, US: Nick Kyrgios lost his way amid objections to on-court advertising lights, with the Wimbledon runner-up falling 6-3, 6-2 to American Taylor Fritz at the ATP and WTA Cincinnati Masters on Wednesday.
The Australian was in complaint mode from the start, lamenting the distraction of flickering LED lights on an advertising board and demanding a fix.
World No. 28 Kyrgios, after a standout summer which included the Washington title this month, could not find his best game in crashing out to 11th seed Fritz after only 50 minutes.
The Aussie had beaten his last five American opponents and stood 15-2 since his surprise Wimbledon final against Novak Djokovic.
But after confessing that he is counting the days until he can return home after the US Open, Kyrgios seemed uninterested in the job on court.
Fritz fired a 12th ace to set up match point and won as Kyrgios hit the top of the net with a weak forehand.
“It feels great the way my game is coming together,” Fritz said. “This is the kind of match I need to build confidence.
“A lot of things were clicking today, I felt great.”
Women’s 10th seed Emma Raducanu dispatched her second Grand Slam champion in less than 24 hours, crushing Victoria Azarenka 6-0, 6-2.
The teenager US Open champion claimed the first 10 games before her veteran opponent, a two-time Cincinnati winner with two Australian Open titles, finally captured a game.
But the young Briton, who ousted Serena Williams the night before with another love set, was having nothing of the sort.
Raducanu calmly achieved 5-1 and conquered her nerves two games later by saving two break points and serving it out on her second match point as Azarenka drove a return long after 63 minutes.
The heavy defeat continued bad form at the US Open tuneup for Azaranka, the 2013 and 2020 winner, who won only two games here a year ago in a third-round loss to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty.
“I played a great match for sure,” Raducanu said. “To play Vika like that I had to stay focused.
“In the second set I could feel the important moments. I’m pleased with how I dug in and served it out.”
On the men’s side, Andy Murray needed a post-match on-court visit from the trainer after losing 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 on to Cameron Norrie in the second round.
Murray, a two-time Cincinnati champion, needed massage on his right thigh before being able to leave the court after battling for nearly two and three-quarter hours in the last major tuneup for the US Open, which begins Aug. 29.
“At times I felt like I played really well and then at times didn’t. My consistency maybe was not where I’d want it,” Murray said.
“But there was some positive tennis in there at times. I definitely had enough opportunities to win that match.”
After cramping at other events in recent weeks, the 35-year-old Scotsman is concerned about his physical situation.
“It’s a big concern for me. It’s something I need to address and find a solution for,” Murray said. “You need to try and understand what’s going on there.”
World No. 11 Norrie broke open a slow-moving match stalemate with a service break in the penultimate game and converted on his first match point.
“I just played the bigger points a bit better,” Norrie said. “It came down to one or two points.”
Norrie produced 39 winners to 37 for three-time Grand Slam champion Murray, who converted on only two of his 11 break chances and fired nearly 40 unforced errors.
“I was not physical enough at the start of the match,” Norrie said. “I was not executing the way I liked. I was pleased to get through without playing my best.”
Elsewhere in the second round, American Ben Shelton stunned fifth seed Casper Ruud, defeating the Norwegian 6-3, 6-3.
In the women’s draw, Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, the fifth seed, defeated Cincinnati’s own Caty McNally 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (9/7).