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Nick Kyrgios has broken his clay-court curse by winning his opening-round clash at the US Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston.
The Australian ended a 1,055-day drought without a victory on clay, defeating American Mackenzie McDonald in the first round.
Kyrgios lost the first set and briefly lost his temper at the umpire after being given a time violation for going off the court for more than three minutes.
However, Kyrgios managed to regain his cool as he landed 18 aces in the match, with his serve a vital factor in his win.
He then backed up his showing to defeat Tommy Paul in the round of 16.
The Aussie wildcard has a somewhat disdain for clay courts, with his last game on the surface coming in mid-2019 at the Italian Open.
He had retired in the second round against Casper Ruud and has refused to play tournaments such as the French Open since.
His last win on the surface came in round one of the Italian Open.
Nearly three years later, he returned to the surface in stunning fashion - and actually seemed to have a change of heart towards the clay court.
After his win, Kyrgios said: “I slip and slide a little bit but my game actually suits clay quite well.
“Clay is obviously not my preferred surface but today I just served really well and started playing more aggressive and found another gear.”
Despite his clay trepidations, he actually has a decent record in Houston after making the quarter-finals of the tournament in 2018.
He said: "You guys make me feel at home. I've always said if I didn't live in Australia, I'd live in the States.
"The people are so nice here. Most of my good friends on tour are American. Jack Sock is a brother of mine. I just love playing in the States, it's great conditions here."
Kyrgios has already confirmed that he won’t be taking part in the European clay-court season, making the Houston tournament his only clay competition of the year.
However, he is set to return to the French Open in 2023 after admitting that his girlfriend Costeen Hatzi wanted to see the City of Love, Paris.
He said: “Next year I am going to go to Paris, I’m announcing that now. I’m going to the French Open. Breaking news.
“Yeah, I haven’t played that in four years so yeah I’ll be back next year.
“My girlfriend just wants to see Paris. So yeah. I mean I’ll just play the French Open as well."
If he keeps up his Houston form in Paris, he and his girlfriend could be in for an equally eventful and romantic trip away.
Featured Image Credit: YouTube/beIN SPORTS Australia. Twitter/TennisTV.
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