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Beyond the Baseline

Nick Kyrgios, 18, turns heads with precocious play at Australian Open

Nick Kyrgios Nick Kyrgios showed off a big game at the Australian Open. (William West/AFP/Getty Images)

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Bernard who?

Nick Kyrgios, an 18-year-old wild card ranked No. 183, put on a performance to remember in the second round of the Australian Open on Thursday night. The Aussie electrified the crowd at Margaret Court Arena by using his aggressive style to take a two-set lead against No. 27 Benoit Paire. But Kyrgios suffered from cramps as the match progressed, and the more experienced Paire rallied to win 6-7 (5), 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.

Still, behind some huge serving and audacious hitting, the 2013 Australian Open junior champion -- who joins 17-year-old Thanasi Kokkinakis in giving Australia a bright future behind Bernard Tomic -- made the entire tennis world sit up and take notice.

How about these hands:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHHHY3IKCFM

"The crowd was unbelievable," Kyrgios said after the match, which finished at 1:38 a.m. "Felt sort of like a Davis Cup atmosphere. I can't thank the fans enough. Every point they were chanting. They were going nuts out there, so, that was really good. Yeah, it was an honor to be out there."

The cheering wasn't confined to Margaret Court Arena. The tennis community took to Twitter to express support for Kyrgios. If you didn't know Nick Kyrgios' name before, you certainly do now.

Here are some of the best tweets on "Special K's" big night:












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