Nick Kyrgios lost on Saturday in a dramatic semifinal on grass in Halle 4: 6, 7: 6 (7: 2), 7: 6 (7: 4) against Hubert Hurkacz with 30 aces.
The Australian wild card, who excelled on the surface for the past two weeks and secured last weekend’s Stuttgart semi-final, failed to secure victory against the Pole who beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon last year.
Fifth-placed Hurkacz produced 27 aces of his own in a more than two-hour match in which neither was able to gather momentum.
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Wimbledon semi-finalist Hurkacz, ranked 12th-65th by Kyrgios, will seek his first grass-court title on Sunday when he plays Daniil Medvedev.
The world number one destroyed German Oscar Otte’s dreams of winning the title in his own country with a 7:6 (7/3), 6:3 victory.
Kyrgios was in good spirits after going down against Hurkacz, whose massive serve rivals his own.
“He’s a damn good player,” said the Australian.
“His serve is incredible. I honestly didn’t feel like reading anything about it.
“I played well in the last two sets but in the second set I hit a shocking tie-break. It is what it is, I’m happy with my form this week.”
Kyrgios will play again next week in Mallorca in a final grass court vote ahead of Wimbledon, which begins on June 26.
Kyrgios’ loss to Hurkacz means he will not be a seed at Wimbledon, in what prominent tennis journalist Jose Morgado described as “bad news for him and for pretty much everyone”.
“I could use it as a weak week so I won’t worry too much about the result – but now that I say it, if I get there I obviously want to continue my form,” he added.
Kyrgios is also pumped for Wimbledon, although the fortnight will offer no ranking points due to the political standoff between the ATP and the All England Club following the banning of Russian and Belarusian competitors.
“I want to try to get as many points as possible (before Wimbledon),” said Kyrgios.
“I still want to do well at Wimbledon but without ranking points you don’t feel the pressure as much.”
Kyrgios stayed cool for the most part, but told a ball kid to “please walk right,” saying that after the stumble, the ball kid would “put him off” before Kyrgios made an unforced error.
Elsewhere, Medvedev needed 65 minutes to win the opening set, helping when his opponent made a double fault on a set point.
He sealed the win with his first match point after 96 minutes and delivered his eighth ace.
“It was hot (32 degrees Celsius/89.6 Fahrenheit), tough conditions,” said Medvedev.
“Reaching the final isn’t everything, I want to show my best tennis and win the title.”
He added: “I’m glad I managed to improve my level on grass this year. I love playing on grass.”
Medvedev is aiming for his first trophy since ending Novak Djokovic’s chances of a calendar Grand Slam last September by winning the US Open final.