Nick Kyrgios ended a three-year title drought with a dominant victory over Yoshito Nishioka at the Citi Open on Sunday and the Australian said he was stunned at his “incredible transformation” over the last year.
Kyrgios launched a dozen aces on the way to a 6-4 6-3 win over his Japanese opponent to claim his first singles title since winning the same hardcourt tournament in 2019 in Washington, D.C.
Kyrgios, who finished runner-up at Wimbledon last month, seemed overcome with emotion as he slumped to his back on the court after sealing the win for his seventh career singles title.
“To see where I was at last year to now, it’s just an incredible transformation,” he said, adding that he had been in “some really dark places”.
“There are so many people who have helped me get there, but myself, I’ve shown some serious strength to just continue and persevere and get through all those times and be able to still perform and win tournaments like this one.”
Kyrgios, well known for his on-court antics and outbursts, opened up on his mental health struggles earlier this year, saying he had suicidal thoughts and the time around the 2019 Australian Open was one of his “darkest periods”.
He said last year he was unsure how long he would continue playing professional tennis but he has shown a new level of consistency this season.
Kyrgios did not drop serve in Washington and has won 11 of his past 12 matches, losing only to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final.
He also picked up a third doubles title of the year, returning to the court with Jack Sock later on Sunday to defeat Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek 7-5 6-4. Kyrgios won the Australian Open and Atlanta doubles titles with countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis.
“Before Australian Open, I decided that I really wanted to put in a good training block, and then things just started falling into place,” said Kyrgios, whose ranking rose to 37th.
“I had a great Australian Open. I felt like the tournaments after Australian Open I was kind of reinventing myself a little bit on the court.
“I feel like my motivation is a lot higher than it used to be ... I don’t know. I just feel like there is a small window I should capitalize on it.”
Samsonova beats Kanepi to capture Washington WTA title
Liudmila Samsonova won her second career WTA title on Sunday, beating Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in Sunday’s women’s final at the ATP and WTA Washington Open.
World number 60 Samsonova fired 10 aces and connected on 81.4% of her first-serve points to capture the crown after taking her only prior tour trophy at last year’s German Open on Berlin grass.
The 23-year-old Russian had a six-week layoff before Washington after being among Russian and Belarus players not allowed to play at Wimbledon due to the invasion of Ukraine.
Kanepi, 37, was foiled in her bid to end a nine-year WTA title drought. She had not won a tour crown since the 2013 Brussels Open.
Samsonova dispatched three of the top six seeds, ousting reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu and fifth seed Elise Mertens before eliminating sixth seed Kanepi.
Kanepi took the only break point of the opening set when Samsonova sent a forehand wide in the 10th game.
In the second set, Samsonova broke for a 4-3 lead when Kanepi hit a backhand long and broke again in the ninth game to force a third set.
Kanepi netted a forehand to surrender a final break in the penultimate game and Samsonova held to seize the trophy, ending matters on a service winner after one hour and 46 minutes.
Samsonova also won their only prior meeting in last year’s first round at Wimbledon.
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