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Gavrilova and Millman move on at US Open

31 August 2017

TENNIS: Daria Gavrilova and John Millman have moved into the second round of the US Open after both claiming strong wins overnight. 

Gavrilova's victory ensured Australia’s women’s tennis stars their best start to the US Open in more than 30 years.

Gavrilova extended her hardcourt winning streak to six matches with a 6-2 6-1 rout of Allie Kiick to join Ashleigh Barty, Arina Rodionova and Ajla Tomljanovic as first-round winners.

It’s the first time four Australian women have progressed to the second round at Flushing Meadows since 1986.

Fresh off her WTA title breakthrough in New Haven on Sunday, Gavrilova lived up to her new-found status as an Open dark horse with a clinical display on the Grandstand court.

The 25th seed needed exactly an hour to see off the world No.634, breaking Kiick seven times and dropping serve only once in recording her first victory in New York since winning the junior crown in 2010.

Gavrilova will return on Friday to play another American, world No.62 Shelby Rogers.

Not since the days when Wendy Turnbull, Liz Minter and Liz Smylie were prominent in Grand Slam draws in the 1980s has Australia enjoyed such a promising start to the Open.

Turnbull, Minter and Smylie, along with Jenny Byrne and Amanda Tobin all made it past the first round in New York 31 years ago.

Australia was guaranteed another second round berth in the men's draw when Millman took on compatriot Nick Kyrgios. 

The Rio 2016 Olympian secured one of the most significant wins of his career after cashing in on Kyrgios’s physical frailties to storm into the second round of the US Open for the first time.

Playing on an injury-protected ranking of his own, Millman kept his nerve as Kyrgios battled his box, officials and ultimately a wounded shoulder to carve out a bittersweet 6-3 1-6 6-4 6-1 victory over his more-fancied countryman.

“It’s a victory, but a hollow victory,” Millman said.

“I know in the back on my mind his shoulder deteriorated as the match went on. He’s a teammate. I feel for him, I really do.”

Kyrgios earned two code violations – one for swearing and one for obliterating his racquet after dropping the third set, the latter costing him a mandatory point penalty to start the fourth set.

There was no way back as the 14th seed surrendered the match after two hours and 15 minutes.

Millman said facing Kyrgios made life difficult.

“It’s even tougher when you’re playing against a fellow countryman,” he said.

“Davis Cup’s around the corner and all of Australia is hoping he’s fit in time for that and it does make it that little bit tricky.

“Even as the match progressed and his shoulder was causing him grief, he was sending down 136-mile-an-hour rockets. It’s really tricky.

“You’ve got to try to stay focused and take those little half chances.

“There’s no doubt he’s talented enough, even if he’s not at 100 per cent, to kind of just slap a few shots and really take control.”

Millman’s victory set up a second-round shot at Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri.

Kyrgios hopes the returning world No.235 can take advantage of his breakthrough.

“He’s always been pretty nice to me. John,” he said.

“I know he’s obviously had some physical struggles, as well, had shoulder surgery. He’s been struggling over the last year or two. I get happy when I see someone like that that’s been through a lot.

“He’s got a good opportunity. Obviously the draw opens up for him now. God knows where he could be in a couple of days if he competes.”

Tennis Australia

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