Kyrgios a hit with rival fans
NICK Kyrgios has returned to winning ways after his limp performance at last week's Shanghai Masters once again raised questions about his effort in ATP matches.
The temperamental Australian, seeded fifth in Moscow, toughed it out for an hour and 29 minutes in a 6-3 4-6 6-4 first-round win at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow against local Andrey Rublev - and produced some spectacular shot-making in the process.
The official ATP website questioned whether one first-set winner was the "hardest forehand of the year".
Kyrgios also pulled off a this brilliantly-aggressive play for a return winner. The tactic was made famous by Federer about a decade ago and dubbed the 'SABR' (Sneak Attack by Roger) but it may be renamed if the Australian keeps using it to such success.
Kyrgios said after the match he was "surprised" to be cheered on so much by the home crowd.
"Normally when I'm not at home I'm not the most loved person but it was nice to hear some cheering. I felt almost at home here," he said.
Kyrgios will play Bosnian Mirza Basic in the second round.
The 23-year-old Kyrgios, who has slumped to world No.37 after struggling for form and fitness this year, will meet Mirza Basic in the last 16, after the Bosnian saw off Tunisia's Malek Jaziri 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.
Reigning champion Damir Dzumhur saw his title defence come to an abrupt halt with a first-round loss to Belarusian qualifier Egor Gerasimov.
The Bosnian, who won both the St Petersburg and Moscow tournaments last year, slumped to a 6-1 6-7 (5-7), 6-2 loss to the world number 217.
Gerasimov will next face charismatic Frenchman Benoit Paire for a place in the last eight.
Paire, who has not reached a quarter-final since February, beat Mischa Zverev 7-6 (8-6), 2-6, 6-1.
"It was a good match. I wasn't doing well at the beginning but then I got much better," Paire said.
At the Stockholm Open, John Millman came back from a set down to defeat fellow Australian Alexei Popyrin 4-6 6-3 6-2 in the first round but Alex de Minaur and Matt Ebden were eliminated.
Millman advanced to a showdown with Greek third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who had an opening-round bye.
Australia's top ranked player de Minaur shared the opening two sets with Philipp Kohlschreiber, both going to tiebreakers, before the German veteran rolled through the decider to record a 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 victory.
Ebden, a quarter-finalist in Shanghai last week, was no match for veteran left- hander Fernando Verdasco.