Rewards aplenty for Kyrgios in Cincinnati

Nick Kyrgios will play for the biggest trophy of his career – and potentially so much more – after surging into his maiden Masters 1000 final in Cincinnati.

Kyrgios secured a precious top-16 seeding for the US Open starting on Monday week with his gritty 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-4) semi-final victory over Spanish veteran David Ferrer.

After a horror four months, the enigmatic Australian is suddenly a Sunday win over Grigor Dimitrov away from vaulting into contention for a spot in the eight-man World Tour Finals for the first time.

Hip and shoulder injuries had restricted Kyrgios to just five wins since April, but the 22-year-old’s dazzling turnaround in Cincinnati has mirrored the blazing form he showed on American hard courts earlier in the season.

Inspired runs to three semi-finals and a quarter-final in successive events in March and April and now his win over Ferrer – a day after conquering new world No.1 Rafael Nadal – have left Kyrgios poised to soar to 10th in the ATP Race to London.

The Canberran is also guaranteed to climb to 18th in the rankings – at least – just in the nick of time for the last grand slam of the season in New York.

With defending champion Stan Wawrinka and world No.5 Novak Djokovic already confirmed scratchings, the rankings rise ensures Kyrgios a top-16 seeding at Flushing Meadows.

As such, Kyrgios is guaranteed to avoid running into a higher-ranked rival until at least the fourth round.

Success against Dimitrov in the first showdown between first-time Masters 1000 finalists since 2002 would rocket Kyrgios to a career-high ranking of No.12 and earn him his fourth ATP title after wins in Tokyo, Atlanta and Marseille last year.

“Obviously, I’m excited, but it’s just another tennis match to me,” Kyrgios said.

“I’ll just go out and serve and whatever happens, happens. It’ll be a tough match.”

Kyrgios fired down 14 aces to Ferrer’s one but still needed a little over two hours to see off the speedy Spaniard.

“He served really good,” the 31st-ranked Ferrer said. “I didn’t have chance in the second tiebreak. In important moments with the second serve, he played aggressive.”

Seventh-seeded Dimitrov, who also won two tiebreakers in seeing off American John Isner 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (12-10) in his sem-final, beat Kyrgios in three sets in their only previous meeting at Indian Wells in 2015.

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