Injury and steady Scot Andy Murray have conspired to scupper Nick Kyrgios’s French Open hopes at Roland Garros.
Kyrgios required treatment for his serving arm in a disappointing 6-4 6-2 6-3 third-round loss to the world No.3 on Saturday.
Murray’s victory was a repeat of his straight-sets Australian Open quarter-final triumph over Kyrgios, who once again also paid the price for untimely concentration lapses against the ruthless two-time grand slam champion.
Despite dazzling the crowd at Court Suzanne-Lenglen with some magical tennis, Australia’s 29th seed appeared agitated from the outset.
At one point with a spot in the last 16 slipping away, Kyrgios muttered “I couldn’t give two shits about this”.
Two wild forehands and a double-fault gifted Murray the opening break of the match in the third game, but he struck straight back with some breathtaking groundstrokes off both wings.
The tennis showman had French fans in raptures when he pulled off an audacious under-the-legs lob winner.
But it was all to no avail as Murray snared the first set after another loose service game from Kyrgios handed the Scot a second break and he couldn’t convert several more chances of his own.
Irritated by right elbow soreness and courtside photographers snapping away behind him, Kyrgios complained to his nearby box: “I can’t serve”.
Not surprisingly, he was broken again from that same end for a third time to fall behind 3-2 in the second set.
He butchered a golden opportunity to break straight back when he fired another forehand long with an open court.
The let-off proved costly as Kyrgios dropped serve yet again to concede the second set.
Kyrgios took a medical timeout to have his elbow strapped but resumed to blast a ferocious forehand crosscourt winner to grab a 2-0 advantage in the third set and raise hopes of a fightback.
But continuing to mix the sublime with the sloppy, more inexplicable unforced errors gave Murray the break straight back once more before Kyrgios belted a ball in frustration into the stands.
It was all but over when Murray broke for a sixth time and the third seed clinched a 13th win from 13 outings on clay this year after one hour and 59 minutes.
The Scot next faces either Belgium’s 17th seed David Goffin or Frenchman Jeremy Chardy on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals.