Tennis

Kyrgios returns to Wimbledon quarterfinals

More than seven years after last reaching a Grand Slam quarterfinal, Nick Kyrgios is through to the last eight at Wimbledon after a five-set win over Brandon Nakashima.

London, UK, 5 July 2022 | Matt Trollope

More than seven years after last reaching a Grand Slam quarterfinal, Nick Kyrgios is through to the last eight at Wimbledon after a five-set win over Brandon Nakashima.

A relatively subdued Kyrgios, battling shoulder discomfort, eventually wore down the young American 4-6 6-4 7-6(2) 3-6 6-2 on Centre Court to set up a meeting with Christian Garin.

Garin recovered from two-sets-to-love down, and later saved two match points, to beat Kyrgios’ countryman Alex de Minaur.

Kyrgios is appearing in the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the first time since 2014, back when he completed a famous upset win over then-world No.1 Rafael Nadal in the fourth round.

It is his first Grand Slam quarterfinal run since Australian Open 2015.

That’s how to seal a victory 👏@NickKyrgios has the Centre Court crowd on their feet#Wimbledon | #CentreCourt100 pic.twitter.com/l8VeZmTTvf

— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 4, 2022

Kyrgios will take on Garin – a player he has never before faced – for a place in his first ever major semifinal.

“I was really excited to play De Minaur to be honest,” Kyrgios lamented during an on-court interview. “He’s been flying the Aussie flag for so long.

“I came on court when he was two-sets-to-love up, so I was actually expecting to play him.

“(Today) it wasn’t anywhere near my best performance level-wise, but I’m just super happy to get through.

“I fought really hard today and the crowd was amazing – it was special stepping out here once again.”

Nakashima upset last year’s semifinalist Denis Shapovalov earlier in the tournament on his way to debuting in the second week of a major.

He showed few signs of early nerves against Kyrgios, going game-for-game with the powerful Australian on serve.

As Nakashima held for 4-3, a grimacing Kyrgios began stretching out and massaging his right shoulder.

He held for 4-4, but two games later, Nakashima broke serve as Kyrgios lost all range, snatching the first set.

Nakashima held points for a 2-0 lead in the second before going off the boil; double faults contributed to him losing serve in the third game.

Kyrgios received painkillers for his shoulder from the trainer at the changeover, and found a better groove on serve.

“I’ve played a lot of tennis in the last month-and-a-half,” said the 27-year-old, now a tour-best 11-2 on grass in 2022.

“I’m just proud of the way I just steadied the ship.”

He maintained his break cushion to take the second set, finishing it with nine aces, a further nine winners, and 80 per cent of first serves won.

The third set required a tiebreak to determine, and it was at this point Kyrgios elevated his level – helped by an untimely Nakashima double fault which pushed the Aussie ahead 3-1.

Kyrgios made it 5-2 with an unreturnable second serve, 6-2 with a backhand return winner down the line, and sealed the set with a searing crosscourt forehand return.

Kyrgios continued to look comfortable on serve, until, suddenly, he poked successive groundstrokes wide of the sidelines and dropped serve in the seventh game.

In the blink of an eye, Nakashima had forced a fifth set.

“My five set record’s pretty good; I’ve never lost a five-set match here,” noted Kyrgios, who is now 6-0 in deciding sets at Wimbledon.

“Honestly that’s what I was thinking about; I was like, I’ve been here before, I’ve done it before, and I came through again.

“(In 2014) I stepped out here against one of the greatest of all time and beat Nadal. So these are all things I had in the back of my mind.

“Brandon hasn’t played on this court that match; I think that was his first time.

“So all these experiences that I’ve had, I think that’s what got me over the line today.”

Sure enough, although Kyrgios began the final set slowly, he built irresistible momentum.

After breaking Nakashima for a 2-1 lead, he sealed a succession of games with exclamation points – an ace out wide for 3-1, a cross-court backhand winner for a second break, and a second-serve ace for 5-1.

Two games later, he closed out the match with a similar flurry of winners.

“Hell of an effort by Brandon. He’s 20 years old and he’s going to do some special things, that’s for sure,” Kyrgios said, to applause from the crowd.

Aussies in action – Wimbledon

TODAY’S RESULTS
Gentlemen’s singles, fourth round
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) d Brandon Nakashima (USA) 4-6 6-4 7-6(2) 3-6 6-2
[11] Taylor Fritz (USA) d [Q] Jason Kubler (AUS) 6-3 6-1 6-4
Cristian Garin (CHI) d [19] Alex de Minaur (AUS) 2-6 5-7 7-6(3) 6-4 7-6(6)

Ladies’ singles, fourth round
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) d Alize Cornet (FRA) 4-6 6-4 6-3

COMING UP
Gentlemen’s singles, quarterfinals
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) v Cristian Garin (CHI)

Ladies’ singles, quarterfinals
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) v [17] Elena Rybakina (KAZ)

Book online, play today: Visit play.tennis.com.au to get out on court and have some fun!



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