Rafael Nadal secured his first China Open title in 12 years on Sunday, beating Nick Kyrgios 6-2, 6-1 in the Beijing final.
After an even start to the first set, Kyrgios lost his way after a bad call, allowing Nadal to take over, secure a couple of breaks and the early advantage.
The eighth seed never recovered from that setback as Nadal grasped total control of proceedings in the second set. Kyrgios couldn't live with the Spaniard as the world No. 1 dropped just one game in a lopsided second stanza; the match included a sequence of nine straight games for Nadal.
The victory was another chapter in what has been a memorable year for the 31-year-old, having already won two Grand Slam titles and moved to the top of the ATP world rankings. This was his sixth title of the season.
For Kyrgios, a player so reliant on confidence, a strong start was so important. And in the early stages of the match, he matched Nadal, with the pair playing some gruelling tennis in the first few games.
As noted by the China Open Twitter account, there were some gargantuan points to begin with, with the match evenly poised:
The decisive moment in the first stanza came when Kyrgios, still unhappy at a bad line call from the first game on break point, started to argue with the umpire in the fifth game. His focus wavered as a result, and across the net from the Australian, the 16-time Grand Slam champion remained a picture of steely focus.
After grabbing a break, Nadal didn't look back, keeping the throttle down and capitalising on a string of errors from his opponent. Remarkably, after such a full-blooded start from Kyrgios, he quickly found himself a set down, with the Spaniard rattling off four games in succession.
Per Live Tennis, Kyrgios didn't take long to unravel at the end of the first set:
Kyrgios was able to conjure two break points in the opening game of the second. But Nadal, so strong on the clutch points, kept it together and notched a crucial hold of serve.
The difference in temperament between the two men was there for all to see in the second game, as this time Nadal applied pressure to the Kyrgios serve. When the break point came about, the Australian gifted it to the top seed, firing into the net to give his opponent a 2-0 lead.
The third game was a similar story, with Kyrgios again making an error on a break point and allowing Nadal to hold. At 3-0, it was a long way back for the eighth seed.
Even though he was on the back foot, Kyrgios was still producing some stunning shots, per Tennis TV:
At 40-0 up in the fourth game, the Australian appeared on course for a straightforward hold, though once again he couldn't find a way of finishing Nadal in a game, as the top seed came roaring back to deuce.
After letting a couple of break points slip past, Nadal finally ripped a return winner down the line to effectively end this contest. Kyrgios' main aim at this juncture was to avoid being served a bagel, as Nadal strung together his ninth game in succession to move 5-0 in front.
A hold in the next game ensured Kyrgios was spared that embarrassment, though at the very next opportunity, Nadal rounded off a dominant performance.
At the tail end of a long campaign, there don't appear to be any signs of the world No. 1 slowing down, and at the moment he's playing some of the most effective tennis of his career. With the ATP Tour Finals just over a month away, Nadal is going to be a tough man to stop.