Beijing: World number one Rafael Nadal won his sixth title of another remarkable year as he punished a disgruntled Nick Kyrgios at the China Open on Sunday.
The 31-year-old Spaniard was never really in trouble against the temperamental Australian in a 6-2, 6-1 rout in 92 minutes on Beijing’s outside hard courts.
Nadal, a 16-time Grand Slam winner, came to the Chinese capital on the back of winning his third US Open.
He saved two match points in his nervy opener against Frenchman Lucas Pouille.
But after that Nadal sliced through the opposition to win the China Open for the first time since making his debut in Beijing in 2005.
Since then Nadal has gone on to become one of the greatest players of all time and he underlined his brilliance in swatting aside the 22-year-old Kyrgios. The world-ranked 19 displayed his best side in forcing Nadal to 2-2 in the first set, but his other side emerged later.
Kyrgios was already on a warning from the umpire from the first game of the match for something he said.
And when he went down 30-0 on Nadal’s serve at 2-2, he began the first in a series of lengthy discussions with the umpire — frequently spreading his arms in despair.
The Australian, going for a fourth career title, shook his head and continued the discussion as he trudged back to his chair, initially to whistles from the crowd and then cheers to encourage him.
Kyrgios, whose undoubted talent has often been overshadowed by his on-court conduct, collected a penalty point as his title hopes quickly evaporated.
GARCIA WINS WOMEN’S CROWN
Unseeded Caroline Garcia of France won her second title in as many weeks as she stunned new world number one Simona Halep in the closely fought women’s final.
Garcia is in the form of her life and edged out the Romanian second seed 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) to add the China Open to the Wuhan Open title she lifted last weekend, making it five WTA crowns in all.
Garcia’s feat was all the more remarkable because she was carrying a leg injury that has required frequent on-court treatment and completed a mammoth three-set quarter-final win well past midnight on Friday evening.
The 23-year-old, who is set to rise from number 15 to nine in the world, sank to her knees on the hard court when she finally sealed victory in the second-set tie break.
“I was like, seriously, this really happened?” Garcia said afterwards, asked what was in her mind when she slumped to her knees.
“It was such an amazing two weeks, it went so fast, I have the feeling I started these tournaments yesterday or two days ago.
“To play every single day, it was just after every match you had to forget about what happened and be on the present again.
“Even this morning I couldn’t believe I was in the final.”
With rain teeming down outside ahead of what turned out to be a cracker, a leak in the Diamond Court stadium roof had threatened to dampen proceedings.
But that was soon fixed and there was little between the two players until Garcia broke Halep in the 10th game to grab the first set.
The 26-year-old Halep had the superior mobility — Garcia had her right thigh strapped — but the French player was making the better shots.
One forehand winner was greeted with gasps from the mostly full arena in Beijing.
The second set was even more competitive and the attritional seventh game turned out to be a turning point.
Garcia was 0-40 down on her own serve until dragging it to 40-40 and then saving half a dozen break points before somehow winning the game to go 4-3 up.
The duo raced into the tie break, but Garcia now had the momentum and she held her nerve to make it a Wuhan-Beijing double. — AFP