WATCH: Davidovich Fokina got a helping hand from Kyrgios after falling just short of a winner at net.


At the end of another thrilling day of Western & Southern Open action, the question remains: did Foki fall?

The ever-quirky Alejandro Davidovich Fokina indeed took one of his inimitable tumbles against Nick Kyrgios, but once helped to his feet, the Spaniard made no mistake in his next approach to net, putting away a killer volley to win the Tennis Point of the Day despite a 7-5, 6-4 defeat.

“He's a really talented player,” Kyrgios said after the match. “I think out of the next gen he has so many options at his disposal. He's extremely talented. He's going to have a hell of a career.

“Today was tough. Obviously quite hot, center court, middle of the day against a tricky player. I'm just happy to get through.”

Kyrgios was playing his first match since ending a nine-match winning streak that took him from a second Citi Open title to the Omnium Banque Nationale quarterfinals, where he endured a narrow defeat to Hubert Hurkacz after knocking out world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev.

The former world No. 13 is just about within range for a Top 32 seed ahead of the US Open, having gained no points from his runner-up finish at Wimbledon, but feels clearer than ever about how best to succeed on the court.

“Against someone like Fokina or Medvedev, de Minaur—these type of players—if I engage in too many rallies, it's not high percentage,” he explained in his press conference. “I feel like tennis players get toward high percentages like playing crosscourt, for instance. But for me, that's not high percentage. That's not how I'm going to win matches is by playing easy balls crosscourt.

“For 90% of players, that's high percentage, but for me that's very low-percentage tennis. That's not going to get it done. Against these types of players, I know I have to stay on top of the points, stay aggressive, you know, try and shorten the points where I can, serve and volley, mix it up, slice. I have got to play my type of tennis, and that's high percentage.

“I feel like high percentage for tennis players is knowing what works for your game style and trying to execute at the highest level. I just feel like I'm really clear on what that is for my game, and I know how other people are trying to play.”

Kyrgios will next face No. 11 seed Taylor Fritz for a spot in the third round, and was effusive in praising his good friend before the match.

“He's the type of player that never lacks confidence, and players like that are capable of winning tournaments. As you know, Indian Wells just happens for him. You can't teach that. That's one thing that you can't teach tennis players is to have that ultimate confidence under pressure and belief in yourself. He's one of those players.

“So, I'm excited. It's the first time we have played each other, and that's a match where I know if I lose I have lost to a great player, as well. I'm excited to see what he's got.”

Like Davidovich Fokina, Kyrgios has fallen down plenty in an up-and-down career, but this current chapter has been defined by just how well he’s gotten back up.