Temperamental Nick Kyrgios slammed the umpire after bowing out to ice-cool Czech Tomas Berdych in a four-set rollercoaster in the third round of the Australian Open.
The Australian lost his temper late in the second set, claiming the match had turned into a circus as he berated chair umpire James Keothavong for not clamping down on music he heard playing in the crowd.
After going down two sets to love, the 20-year-old then played a near-flawless third set, only for the sixth-seeded Berdych to claim the only break of the fourth set to win 6-3 6-4 1-6 6-4 in two hours and 27 minutes.
Kyrgios gifted Berdych the victory on his second match point courtesy of a double-fault.
He then called Keothavong “a terrible referee” after shaking hands with the victor.
“It’s a difficult match,” Berdych said.
“I have already played quite a few of those and I have a lot of experience playing Davis Cup matches or tough matches like that.
“I tried to remain composed and not look too much over the net.”
Kyrgios’ demise leaves Bernard Tomic and John Millman as the only Australian men in the singles draw.
They meet in a third-round clash on Saturday evening.
Kyrgios, a quarter-finalist last year, looked to be perilously close to unravelling in the ninth game of the second set when he repeatedly complained to Keothavong that he was being distracted by music coming from somewhere in the crowd at Rod Laver Arena.
“Do you want to stop? We can stop,” responded Keothavong, although it was unclear whether the Australian heard him.
“Mate, there is music playing in the crowd and while we are playing – I’ve told you seven times,” Kyrgios complained a couple of points later.
“Just answer the question.
“Is music allowed to be played while we are playing? Am I hearing things?
“It’s a circus.”
Shortly afterwards Kyrgios found himself down two sets to love and seemingly in all sorts of trouble.
But the third set was a complete turnaround, with Kyrgios racing to a 5-0 lead before claiming it 6-1.
Games stayed on serve until the 10th game of the final set, when Berdych broke to claim the victory.
Berdych how plays Spain’s No.24 seed Roberto Bautista Agut who upset No.12 seed and 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic from Croatia 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 7-5.
The Czech was a semi-finalist at Melbourne Park in 2014 and 2015 and a quarter-finalist in each of the three years prior to that.