In a hotly anticipated first tour-level meeting, Nick Kyrgios defeated Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-4 to set a fourth-round clash with Novak Djokovic at the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday.
In a measured and impressive display, Kyrgios mixed strong serving with an array of hot shots to dismiss Zverev in 73 minutes. The 21-year-old Australian broke in the third and ninth games to secure the opening set before breaking decisively in the 10th game of the second to claim victory.
"It was always going to be a tough match," said Kyrgios. "He's been playing great tennis and on the rise ever since juniors. I knew it was going to be tough. It was hot, but it wasn't scorching. I think that suits my game style. I can get more bounce off my forehand. I'm just really glad to get through.
"I enjoyed it. I think there were some points where everyone enjoyed it. I thought he was playing some great shots. The crowd enjoyed.
"There was obviously a lot of pressure. I thought at times we both looked a bit nervous, fair enough, with everything going on, a lot of expectations. Ultimately, it was a good match. He's going to beat me plenty of times in his career, I think. I'm going to beat him. That's how it's going to be."
Watch hot shot after hot shot after hot shot
"It was the worst match I played all year. It's quite simple," lamented the 19-year-old Zverev. "My serving was absolute horrible, my returning was absolutely horrible. From the baseline was horrible. There is not one thing I did well."
The No. 16-ranked Kyrgios is coming off a run to the Acapulco semifinals, where he defeated Djokovic in their first meeting before falling to eventual champion Sam Querrey. His victory over World No. 2 Djokovic last week made the Canberra native only the second player, after Lleyton Hewitt, to beat Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in their first tour-level meetings.
Kyrgios is looking for another strong showing at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 after reaching his first semifinal in Miami last year (l. to Nishikori).