Australia’s Nick Kyrgios became the last player to reach the second round of the US Open by defeating American Steve Johnson 6-3, 7-6 (7/1), 6-4 early Wednesday morning.
Kyrgios seeded 28th, fired 24 aces to four for Johnson and made eight double faults, twice Johnson’s total.
“To have a performance like that is pretty special,” Kyrgios said. “I don’t take these days for granted.”
Kyrgios said that to be issued a record $113,000 fine by the ATP for actions at the Cincinnati Masters was not a concern for him entering the US Open.
“Not at all,” he said. “ATP is pretty corrupt anyway. I’m not frustrated at all.”
He later added, “I’m fined 113K for what?”
Kyrgios smashed two racquets and used profanity in describing an umpire as a “tool” after being assessed a time violation in a loss to Russia’s Karen Khachanov.
He also called the umpire “rubbish”, “a disgrace” and “the worst ref in the game.”
Kyrgios, who won ATP titles earlier this year at Acapulco and Washington, will next face French wildcard Antoine Hoang after dispatching a friend in Johnson.
“I knew I had to play top-flight tennis. I had to serve well,” Kyrgios said. “I was hitting the ball really well. I was happy to get done in three sets.”
Kyrgios could take full advantage of a draw quarter that opened greatly with upsets Tuesday, although he said such things aren’t important to him.
“I don’t really care about that,” Kyrgios said. “Regardless of who I play I know I can beat anybody on the other side of the net.”
Ousted were Austrian fourth seed Dominic Thiem, Greek eighth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, Spanish 10th seed Roberto Bautista Agut, Canadian 18th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime and British 30th seed Kyle Edmund.
The only higher-seeded players than Kyrgios who made the second round in his draw quarter are 13th-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils and Italian 24th seed Matteo Berrettini.
Kyrgios has never gone past the third round at the US Open. His best Grand Slam results have been quarter-final runs at 2015 Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2014.
While the conclusion came at 1:12 a.m., it wasn’t the latest-finishing US Open men’s first-round affair. That distinction still belongs to the 1991 Jimmy Connors defeat of Patrick McEnroe in five sets that ended at 1:35 in the morning.