Kyrgios out of Australian Open after four-set fight in front of home crowd

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Associated Press

After Nick Kyrgios dropped the first two sets to Grigor Dimitrov in their tense, back-and-forth fourth-round match at the Australian Open, a spectator called out to him as he dejectedly walked back to the service line, "Pick your head up."

Nick Kyrgios serves

Kyrgios literally did lift his head for a moment, generating a laugh from the packed Rod Laver Arena audience.

He also picked up his spirits — and his game — and slowly clawed his way back into the match.

As tends to be the case with Kyrgios, however, his focus soon wavered.

Dimitrov won the match 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (4) and Kyrgios was left searching, yet again, for a solution to whatever is holding him back from contending for major titles.

Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov celebrates after defeating United States' Mackenzie McDonald in their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov celebrates after defeating United States' Mackenzie McDonald in their second round match at the Australian Open

Source: Associated Press

Kyrgios has long been touted as a multiple Grand Slam winner and potential future No. 1, but the 22-year-old is still struggling to get closer to the top.

In fact, his results in recent years are moving in the wrong direction.

He's only reached two Grand Slam quarterfinals in his career, and the last came at the Australian Open three years ago. He's lost before the fourth round in nine of the last 12 majors.

Despite falling short on Sunday, however, Kyrgios was upbeat in defeat, believing he's still a work in progress.

"I feel confident after losing that match. I gave my best efforts this week. I came up short. I beat three quality opponents," he said.

"I lost tonight to one of the best players in the world. Went down swinging. Obviously I feel a lot better this time around.

"Last year I really didn't know what I was going to do after the Australian Open. I feel like I have more of a vision and goal for this year. I think I'm in a good head space."

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