Andy Murray rose above a day of chaos at the Shanghai Masters on Wednesday as Rafael Nadal fell at the first hurdle and Nick Kyrgios melted down in spectacular fashion.
Murray, seeking to wrest the world number one ranking from Novak Djokovic by the year’s end, moved fluently past America’s Steve Johnson 6-3, 6-2 to reach the third round.
It was a very different story for Nadal, who departed grim-faced and with his ardent fans in tears after a shock 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) defeat to Viktor Troicki.
Chinese fans brandished pictures of Nadal — including one of him in his underwear — but they looked on in dismay as the 14-time Grand Slam champion was well beaten.
Afterwards Nadal, now 30 and with a catalogue of injuries to his name, vowed to return to top form by next season, mainly by putting the zip back in his forehand and movement.
“I know what I have to do and I’m going to do it,” scowled the Spaniard, who has had little to smile about at the big tournaments this year.
“I’ve got two-and-a-half months until next season starts so I have got two-and-a-half months to put myself at the level I want to be.
“And I’m confident I’m going to do it.”
Earlier Australia’s Kyrgios lashed out at fans and insisted “I don’t owe them anything” after he was booed off court in one of the biggest flare-ups of his volatile career.
The hot-headed world number 14 clashed with the chair umpire and a heckler and admitted not trying after he lost 6-3, 6-1 to German qualifier Mischa Zverev, the world number 110.
Kyrgios was slapped with a code violation for an audible obscenity, and was warned to play properly after he patted a child-like serve into his opponent’s court.
He later admitted “taking the easy way out” after he gave up on several points during the match, including one Zverev serve which he walked away from before it had landed.
But when asked whether he could understand why fans were upset, he shot back: “Not at all.
“I feel like if they knew what they were talking about they’d be on the tennis court and being successful, as well.
“No, I can’t really understand it at all. They don’t know what I’m going through.”
Kyrgios added: “I’m good at hitting a tennis ball at the net. Like, big deal. I don’t owe them anything. It’s my choice,” he said.
“If you don’t like it, I didn’t ask you to come watch. Just leave. If you’re so good at giving advice and so good at tennis, why aren’t you as good as me? Why aren’t you on the tour?”
Kyrgios is known for his poor behaviour on court. Last year he received a suspended one-month ban for makingports, a lewd and personal comment during a match with Stan Wawrinka.
Wawrinka, by contrast, moved through with minimal fuss as the US Open champion mastered Britain’s Kyle Edmund 6-3, 6-3 to reach the third round.
Canada’s Milos Raonic beat Paolo Lorenzi 6-2, 6-4, but Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych tumbled 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/1) to Marcel Granollers.
Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil upset Grigor Dimitrov 7-5, 7-6 (7/2), David Goffin beat Benoit Paire 6-1, 7-6 (7/0) and Gilles Simon ousted Chinese wildcard Wu Di 6-2, 6-2.