The second meeting between Nick Kyrgios and Alexander Zverev lived up to its billing.
There were elements og sensational and tense controversy that erupted late in the match, but behind the wall of smoke and mirrors there lurked some of the best tennis that the next generation had to offer.
Kyrgios and Zverev locked horns in a two-hour and 33-minute tussle that the Aussie claimed 6-4, 6-7(9), 6-3.
Kyrgios cruised along without facing a break point through the first set, but Zverev proved to be indomitable in the second set tiebreaker and he put all of his fiery passion into surviving three match points and converting his third set point to force a decider.
Kyrgios responded well to the difficulty of missing his match points and kept his serve at the forefront in the deciding set. He was not broken all evening and did not face a break point.
Things quickly heated up in the third set when Kyrgios was allowed a late challenge on a call that was horribly botched by the linesman on the baseline. The call was overturned and Zverev went after umpire Fergus Murphy for allowing Kyrgios to make the challenge.
The German lost his focus there for a moment and it opened the window for Kyrgios’ critical break. He took a 4-2 lead and used his serve to take him home.
The Aussie defeated Roger Federer at their only previous meeting in Madrid in 2015. They were slated to meet in the quarterfinals at Indian Wells two weeks ago, but Kyrgios had to pull out due to a stomach flu.