MELBOURNE, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Nick Kyrgios toppled his childhood idol Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a tense clash to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open on Friday and raise home fans’ hopes of a first men’s champion in 42 years.
Away from the raucous atmosphere of his favoured Hisense Arena, the tempestuous Australian showed impressive composure in the tiebreaks to beat former finalist Tsonga 7-6(5) 4-6 7-6(6) 7-6(5) under the lights of Rod Laver Arena.
Tsonga, the 15th seed, had looked primed to take the fight into a fifth set when he stormed to a 4-1 lead in the final tiebreak, but Kyrgios roared back to seal it when the Frenchman hammered the ball into the net on the first match point.
Kyrgios will next face third seed Grigor Dimitrov for a place in the quarter-finals, the man he beat in the last four of the Brisbane International this month.
“It was amazing, I’d never won a match on this court coming here,” Kyrgios said in the post-match interview on court.
“Playing Jo, obviously I was very nervous. I was just happy to get through and you guys were amazing tonight.”
Editing by Kevin Liffey