Nick Kyrgios withdrew from the Japan Open minutes before his quarterfinals on Friday with a sore left knee, calling it “heartbreaking”. The mercurial Australian star was slated to play third-seeded American Taylor Fritz, who will now play seventh-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the final four on Saturday. At a hastily announced press conference when the match was due to start, World No. 20 Kyrgios said he had “played great tennis all year” but it had been physically demanding.
“I actually had a little bit of pain in my knee around US Open time, and when I got home I probably didn’t have enough free time, to be honest. I went right back into training,” said the 27-year-old. .
“It’s heartbreaking. When the body lets you down, it’s not a good feeling.”
Kyrgios is now going home, but said he still plans to play several more events in the run-up to the Australian Open in January and promised to return to the Japanese tournament in 2023.
Kyrgios, who beat Polish Kamil Majchrzak 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the second round on Thursday, said his knee was “not really” a problem in his singles or doubles, but it felt “pretty sore.” ” ” during the warm-up on Friday.
“It’s probably something of an overload in this case, rather than not being fit enough,” he explained.
“It’s almost too excited to get on the field, and maybe train a little too much.”
“Solid” win for Tiafoe
Earlier on Friday, jet-lagged Frances Tiafoe flew into the semifinals in straight sets, winning each with an ace, beating Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 6-0, 6-4.
The fourth-seeded American player will face South Korea’s unseeded Kwon Soon-woo on Saturday.
Tiafoe, who beat Rafael Nadal at the US Open en route to his first Grand Slam semifinal, said he was “solid from the start” in the 71-minute quarterfinal.
“Great tennis today,” he said. “I moved really well, I hit the ball really well from the back of the field.”
The 24-year-old American, the number 19 in the world, said he was having trouble adjusting to the Tokyo time zone.
“I’ve been really bad and jet lagged, so I probably slept pretty early and woke up really early,” he said.
Canadian Shapovalov won a place in the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Croatian Borna Coric, while Kwon defeated Spain’s Pedro Martinez 6-3, 6-0.
Tiafoe said it would be “cool” to play the South Korean, whom he met at the Tokyo Olympics.
“Kwon is a great player. He has played really well this week, so it will be cool to play against him, we practice in Florida sometimes.”
Tiafoe has been in the spotlight since the stunning Nadal in September and starred at the Laver Cup in London, where his Rest of the World team defeated Europe for the first time in league history.
He has said he hopes to inspire a new generation of black tennis players.
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