In 2016, evidence that things were coming together for Nick Kyrgios was apparent early on as the Australian won the first two titles of his career in February and over the summer before the US Open. However, his New York campaign ended in disappointing fashion as he was forced to retire in the third round.
Rebounding from that, Kyrgios turned his attention to the stretch of tournaments in Asia, reaching his third final of the year at the Japan Open in Tokyo. There, he’d face David Goffin, the Belgian who’d been in the midst of his own career-best season.
The walkover he received in the second round notwithstanding, Kyrgios didn’t drop a set en route to the final. That changed in the opening frame of this contest as Goffin managed the sole break of the first set to claim it, winning 6-4.
Early in the second, the Belgian earned three break points, which would have given him a 2-1 lead. However, Kyrgios calmly erased them behind his massive serve and then recorded a break of his own. That would be the only advantage he’d need as he managed to level the match.
The two stayed on serve through the bulk of the deciding set, even though Goffin’s delivery got shakier while Kyrgios’ only improved. Goffin, who served six double faults in the third set, was finally broken at 5-5. In the closing game, Kyrgios struck his 25th ace for the day on match point to clinch his third title of the year—and his career.
Goffin remained tied with his countrymen Steve Darcis, Filip Dewulf and Oliver Rochus at two career singles titles.
Kyrgios became the first Australian male of the decade to win three titles in a season.
In the semifinals here and in Marseille earlier in the year, Kyrgios defeated the world No. 8 on the way to the title. In Tokyo, it was Monfils and in Marseille, Tomas Berdych.
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