Nick Kyrgios has come back from a break down in the final set and avoided being defaulted from the Estoril Open all in the space of half an hour.
Kyrgios, who was playing journeyman Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas won the match 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-3) but it wasn’t without more than it’s share of drama.
Having lost the second set in a tie-breaker, Kyrgios found himself down a break in the third, but rallied to get things level late in the final set.
Kyrgios then went up 6-5 and had two match points on the Ramos-Vinolas serve, one of which he blew in spectacular fashion by missing a short ball wide and long just when it appeared the match was his.
That led to a final set breaker, during which Kyrgios whacked a ball out of the stadium, and having already received two code violations, one for an audible obscenity and the second for racket abuse, he was treading a fine line.
Things got heated too – umpire Fergus Murphy appeared to not see Kyrgios unleash his anger and then Ramos-Vinolas reacted, asking the umpire to issue a third and final code violation to the Aussie.
Murphy wouldn’t and it upset the Spaniard, who would go on to lose three straight points to lose the match, before refusing to shake hands with the umpire, but not Kyrgios.
Kyrgios got off the hook, but it wasn’t so for fellow Aussie Marinko Matosevic, who lost in straight sets to a returning Richard Gasquet.
The 7-6 (9-7) 6-1 loss to Gasquet, who was making his return from a back injury was Matosevic’s sixth consecutive first round loss in all tournaments in a stretch dating back to March’s Indian Wells event, where he lost to Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
The last time Matosevic won a match on the ATP Tour was at the Acapulco event in February, where he defeated Spaniard Marcel Granollers, before falling to David Ferrer.
Gasquet, the former ATP number seven currently ranked 28th, took less than 90 minutes to dispatch the 82nd-ranked Matosevic in the opening round.
Gasquet was one of two French winners as qualifier Kenny De Schepper put out Portugal’s Gastao Elias 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 to move into a second-round meeting with Gasquet.
Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta advanced over Constant Lestienne of France 6-3, 6-1.
Gasquet has played a pair of finals in Portugal, losing to Novak Djokovic in 2007 and Juan Martin del Potro in 2012.
Gasquet last took to a court on cement in Indian Wells on March 15, retiring with a herniated disc in his back against German Michael Berrer in the second round.
The 28-year-old improved to 11-4 on the season after his winning debut on clay.
Gasquet finished with nine aces and three breaks of serve. He won the opening set in a tiebreaker and broke early to dominate the second set on the way to victory.
Matosevic saved match points and forced the seed to salvage a break point in the final game before Gasquet claimed the win.
Nick Kyrgios will get his Portuguese campaign underway later in the day when he takes on Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
In Istanbul fellow young Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis got his claycourt season off to a losing start, falling in the first round to 24-year-old Serb Dusan Lajovic 6-4 7-5.