Nick Kyrgios was at his box office-best on Tuesday but he saved his most brutal sledge for last as he and Thanasi Kokkinakis won again.
Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis had the last laugh over Tim Puetz and Michael Venus on Tuesday and the Aussies savoured every delicious moment of their victory.
The hometown heroes — dubbed the “Special Ks” — stunned the sixth seeds 7-5 3-6 6-3 to move into the Australian Open doubles semi-finals and, as has been par for the course at Kyrgios matches this month, the crowd was going absolutely bananas.
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Plenty thought spectators went too far by jeering during points and when Venus and Puetz were serving, but Kokkinakis summed up the Special Ks’ attitude in a post-match interview when he told tennis fans in Melbourne: “Sink p**s and come here.”
It may have been a four-person contest but the friction between Kyrgios and Venus in particular was obvious to everyone. During the final game of the second set, the pair jawed at each other as Kyrgios complained to the umpire about the Kiwi repeatedly redoing his ball toss.
Venus chatted to Kyrgios as the Canberra product strutted around the court and then let out a huge, pointed roar while staring at the other side of the net when he and Puetz won five straight points to claim the set and send the match into a decider.
Kyrgios didn’t forget. He mocked the New Zealander’s ball toss in the third set by intentionally throwing balls away but he saved his most cutting blow for the very end.
With three match points on offer after serving the Aussie duo to 40-0 at 5-3 in the third, and with the crowd going ballistic, Kyrgios suggested Venus had gone all silent.
The 26-year-old cupped his left hand to his ear and said something to the effect of “I can’t hear you”.
A couple of points later and it was all over when Venus clunked a forehand into the net, sparking wild celebrations at Kia Arena.
Former Aussie star Sam Groth loved the byplay between Kyrgios and Venus.
“There was the occasional Kyrgios blow-up — he wasn’t extremely happy — then Michael Venus started giving it back to Nick as well,” Groth told Nine on Wednesday.
“He was getting caught up in the whole situation.”
Todd Woodbridge added: “I enjoyed Michael Venus coming back and actually antagonising Nick a little bit, because you get to see how Nick reacts.
“He doesn’t always like it. He loves to be the conductor of his on circus … the ringmaster. But if someone comes at him he gets a little bit gnarly. I thought that was as entertaining as everything else out there yesterday.”
Kyrgios and Kokkinakis have now knocked out the top seeds, 15th seeds and sixth seeds on their way to the semi-finals — and ruffled feathers along the way.
Some members of Croatian Olympic gold medallists Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic’s entourage threatened to fight Kyrgios after their match last week but the secret to the Special Ks’ success has been a refusal to be overawed by more experienced pairings with better rankings.
“To be brutally honest, I just don’t even worry,” Kyrgios said in a post-match press conference when asked how much research he and Kokkinakis are doing on their opponents.
“I didn’t even know who we played yesterday — I mean, two days ago.
“I didn’t even know but when I walked out there.
“I just know if we play our game and we can use the crowd, use the energy, serve well, worry
about us, don’t worry about the external, just control what we can control and we’ll be fine.”