Nick Kyrgios has fought back to beat Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov andd advance to the third round of the Cincinnati Masters.
Kyrgios recovered from dropping an early break in the first set to win 6-3 7-6 (8-6) in a match which saw both players bemused to learn they had been serving with women’s balls for six points.
While the balls used on the men’s and women’s tour generally have the same size and pressure, the men usually use extra-duty felt to slow the speed of the ball down while the women use regular-duty balls which have a different logo.
It was Dolgopolov who initially noticed the telltale red marking before alerting the umpire. Kyrgios then noticed a ball in his possession was the same before realising it wasn’t just one.
“What are you guys doing,” the Australian was heard to ask. “Christ almighty.”
Kyrgios had started strongly on serve but soon found himself down 3-1 in the first set after double-faulting to gift Dolgopolov the first break of the match.
The world No.23 then immediately returned the favour and didn’t drop another game to take the opening set and next faces unseeded Croatian Ivo Karlovic.
Elsewhere on Wednesday Pablo Carreno, Karen Khachanov, David Ferrer and Yuichi Sugita also advanced to the third round.
Seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov will meet former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro after beating Feliciano Lopez in straight sets.
Dimitrov, who beat Lopez in the second round in Cincinnati last year, nearly broke the unseeded Spaniard three times prior to making a strong start in the tiebreak and went on to finish the match with 27 winners.
“Early on, he was serving very well,” said Dimitrov. “It was just important for me to stay in the game and just put as many returns in as I could in order to get in the rally because as soon as that was happening I felt I had a pretty good chance of winning every point.”