TOKYO — Nick Kyrgios claimed his third, and biggest, title of the year, when rallying to beat David Goffin at the Rakuten Japan Open on Sunday.
The big-serving Australian won a tight match, in which there were only three breaks, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Goffin was left to rue five spurned break points in the third game of the second set, when he had Kyrgios 0-40. Kyrgios held, with the help of three aces, then broke in the next game.
The Kyrgios serve proved crucial, as he fired 21 of his 25 aces in the final two sets.
In contrast, Goffin’s serve fell apart in the third set, when he double-faulted six times.
Fittingly, Kyrgios served an ace down the middle to take the title.
“In the first set he was not serving like he did in the second and the third,” said Goffin. “Then he was serving at 215kph with a lot of precision. I had to be solid on my serve and wait for my opportunity. I didn’t take it.
“He tried to go big on the second serve because he didn’t want to play a lot of rallies. He knew if he wanted to win he had to serve well, and that’s what he did. That’s his best weapon.”
Both had plenty of opportunities to seize control of the match. Goffin took only one of his 12 break points, and Kyrgios two out of 13.
“It was physically pretty tough, we had a lot of long rallies,” said Kyrgios. “The way I returned today got me a lot of break points. If one of us had taken more of their break points it would have made it a lot easier for both of us. There was just a couple of points in it.”
Marcel Granollers, of Spain, and Poland’s Marcin Matkowski, beat the second-seeded Raven Klaasen, of South Africa, and American Rajeev Ram, 6-2, 7-6 (4) in the doubles final.