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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Nick Kyrgios boosts Australian Open hopes after winning Brisbane International title

Australian is up to No 17 in the rankings and will be full of confidence ahead of first grand slam of the season.

Nick Kyrgios poses with the Brisbane International trophy after beating Ryan Harrison in Sunday's final. Bradley Kanaris / Getty Images
Nick Kyrgios poses with the Brisbane International trophy after beating Ryan Harrison in Sunday's final. Bradley Kanaris / Getty Images

Nick Kyrgios gave himelf a big boost ahead of the Australian Open by clinching the Brisbane International title after defeating Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-2 in Sunday's final.

Kyrgios, the world No 17, is the highest ranked Australian going into his home grand slam, which starts on January 15, and he gave a timely reminder of his talents by winning his first trophy of the season.

Carrying a niggling knee injury, Kyrgios made a slow start and was forced to save five break points before he managed to carve out own his first break in the seventh game.

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Kyrgios, 22, claimed the first set before taking control of the match after his American opponent dropped serve at the start of the second set with a double fault.

Kyrgios broke the big-serving Harrison again in a sublime second set display to close out the match and seal his fourth career title.

"I've got fond memories of Brisbane, played Davis Cup here and had a massive win over the US," Kyrgios said.

"Coming here all week I felt right at home... I love playing in front of you guys even though sometimes you may not see it that way, but I do."

Kyrgios became the second Australian to lift the trophy in the tournament's 10-year history after Lleyton Hewitt in 2014.

Kyrgios has often struggled to produce his best tennis at the grand slams, but he goes into the Australian Open having made a strong start to the season, including a semi-final victory over world No 3 Grigor Dimitrov.

The men's field at the first grand slam of the year has already been hit by the withdrawals of five-time runner-up Andy Murray and Japan's former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori.

The participation of former champions Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka remains in doubt with the trio battling to overcome injury problems.