Nick Kyrgios has continued his preparation for the last grand slam of the year with a strong win over Tommy Paul at the Washington Open on Thursday (AEST).
The Australian was challenged in just his second singles match since Wimbledon and had to play his best tennis to defeat Paul 6-3 6-4.
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Kyrgios was locked in, firing off 15 aces including one rocket at 218km/h.
He was superb in the clutch moments — saving all four break points he faced and converting three out of four of his own break point opportunities.
Kyrgios was up to his usual antics when he got stuck into the umpire after he was given a code violation for ball abuse.
But the Washington crowd was in his corner and he showed his soft side in the first set, when an elderly fan was hit in the face by a ball that took a wayward bounce into the stands.
Kyrgios went over and handed the spectator one of his towels.
He is chasing his second title in Washington and will next face fourth0seed Reilly Opelka in the round of 16 on Friday.
After pulling out of the singles draw at the Atlanta Open last week with a knee injury, Kyrgios has shown impressive form in his two matches in Washington against Marcos Giron and Paul.
He needed just 59 minutes to beat Giron in straight sets and was his usual entertaining self, engaging with the crowd.
He won the doubles title in Atlanta playing alongside fellow Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis and is a favorite to win the title in Washington ahead of the US Open, which begins later this month.
It wasn’t such good news elsewhere among the Australian contingent in Washington, with Alexei Popyrin and Alex de Minaur losing to Taylor Fritz and Yoshihito Nishioka, respectively.