Nick Kyrgios made his first big steps on the Pro Tour back in 2013 when he won Sydney Challenger (by far the youngest champion on the Challenger Tour that season), ranked 559th, and at the Roland Garros where he scored his first ATP win.
He was the third best U20 player of the season behind Dominic Thiem and Jiri Vesely and also the youngest in the Top 300, with even higher goals set for 2014. Talented Aussie conquered back-to-back Challenger crowns in Sarasota and Savannah in April and he passed the qualifying round of the Nottingham-2 Challenger to go all the way and claim his first trophy on grass.
This was his 9th and final Challenger tournament for Nick, who made a name for himself at Wimbledon, reaching the quarter-final following a historic win over world number 1 Rafael Nadal in the last 16. With these points, Nick entered the Top 100 and he continued his rush towards the Top 50, never having to play in the lower events again.
In this analysis, we will take a closer look of his Nottingham triumph over compatriot Sam Groth in the final, beating the fellow Aussie 7-6 7-6 in an hour and 32 minutes to lift his 4th Challenger trophy and earn the Wimbledon wild card that he would use in the perfect way. As was expected from two great servers on the fastest surface, it was a very fast and fluid match with short points and a huge number of service winners.
In addition, both Nick and Sam had more direct points from the field than unforced errors and they stayed neck and neck from start to finish. Kyrgios fends off all 5 break points he faced, Groth did the same with 3 challenges he had to play against, and both sets had to be concluded in the tie break.
The way they built the points (in those rare occasions without service winners or a rally with 3 or 4 shots) was different, though, with Nick trying to settle into the rhythm from the baseline and Sam using every opportunity to rush forward and keep the points on his volley, finishing the match with 12 volley winners and 13 errors.
The second serve worked better for Kyrgios, despite the fact he faced more break points, and he won 9 points more than his rival, 6 of those in the tie break, which eventually handed him the victory. 50% of the points ended with unreturned serves, with 45 service winners for Nick and 42 for Sam, and the initial shot was the most dominant weapon for both players.
Groth was more efficient from the field, hitting 20 winners against 14 from Nick, who made the biggest damage with his forehand. Younger player tamed his shots in a better way, staying on 9 unforced errors compared to 14 from Groth, and it was the same ratio in the forced errors department.
Also, Sam had 4 double faults, some of those in the very important stages of the match, and he had to settle for the second price. 82% of all points ended up in the shortest range with a maximum number of 4 shots, and only 5 exchanges reached the 9th stroke.
Nick was more effective in those quickest points, taking a 79-64 advantage, and that delivered the win for him, as Sam won 18 out of the longest 30 points, which wasn't enough for a more positive result or at least a set.
The encounter kicked off with 7 service winners in the opening 2 games and that set the tone for the rest of the match. Sam came back from 30-15 down on serve in game 3 with 2 service winners and he earned a break point in the 4th game after a forehand return winner.
Nick found his shots at the right time, firing 2 service winners and the one from his forehand to bring the game home safely and level the score at 2-2. Nothing could separate them in the next 5 games and it was Groth who played well on the return in game 10 again, creating a break point after a double fault from Nick.
Just like in the 4th game, Kyrgios pulled the best serves when he needed them most and he got out of jail in style to lock the result at 5-5 for more drama. Game 11 saw the first deuce on Groth's serve but that was all Nick could do, as Sam blasted 2 aces to move ahead again, and the set went into a tie break when Nick scored an easy hold in the 12th game, pushed by 3 unreturned serves.
Kyrgios was more focused, serving well and claiming the mini-break in the 4th point after an expensive double fault from his rival. Sam also missed a volley while trailing 6-3 and that meant the end of the opener, after some 40 minutes of play.
Nick had 22 service winners while Sam stayed on 19, and it was 8-6 from Groth in the winners from the field. Sam had 3 errors more than his rival (6-4 in unforced and 7-6 in forced) and the set was decided with that double fault he hit in the tie break, even though it could have gone to his side if he managed to convert any of 2 break points he had.
Carried by this momentum, Kyrgios fired 4 service winners in the opening game of the second set and he arranged his first break point in the following game when Sam made a few volley errors. Groth failed to hit a service winner in the first 5 points but that all changed in the rest of the game, wrecking 3 unreturned serves to fend off a break point and stay on the positive side of the scoreboard.
Out of sudden, Nick played 3 loose shots to open the third game in the worst possible manner, and Sam had a colossal chance to score a break and become the favorite to grab the set. Nonetheless, a teenager hit 3 service winners, backed by 2 errors from his opponent, and this was very important hold for him, serving without any troubles by the end of the set.
He reached 2 deuces on the return in game 4 but Sam avoided break points with good serves, and he had to do the same in game 6, closing the game with a volley winner to level the score at 3-3. They nailed 4 winners each in games 7 and 8, with another couple of good holds that kept them tied at 5-5.
From 30-0 down in game 11 and a possible trouble, Nick landed 4 service winners to secure the tie break, and he had a chance to wrap up a win earlier, with 2 match points in game 12. Groth held his nerve to overcome the danger with 4 winners, setting up another tie break.
This time they both opened it well, with the result going with serve in the first 10 points, and it was another double fault from Groth that gave Nick a match point at 6-5. Sam saved it with a cracking return winner but he lost the point on serve again at 7-7, and Nick converted his 4th match point with a service winner, celebrating the title and the Wimbledon main draw ticket.
In set number 2 they had 23 service winners each and Sam was again better in the winners from the field, hitting 12 opposed to 8 from Nick. Still, he made more errors, just like in the opener (8-5 in unforced, 7-3 in forced) and that cost him the set, together with that double fault in the worst possible moment.
Point by point result and the number of shots in the rallies: