Much quieter, much calmer than in his previous match, Nick Kyrgios overcame a troublesome right shoulder to deliver 35 aces and beat Brandon Nakashima 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-2 at Wimbledon on Monday to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final for the first time in 7 1/2 years.
The unseeded Kyrgios improved to 6-0 over his career in five-setters at the All England Club and collected his tour-leading 11th grass-court victory of the season.
“I need a glass of wine, for sure, tonight. For sure,” Kyrgios told the crowd during his on-court interview in London, after swapping out his rule-conforming white hat and shoes for red versions.
Playing before a nearly full house at Centre Court, the 27-year-old Australian only occasionally displayed his unusual repertoire of trick shots — a between-the-legs swing here, an underarm serve there — or the temper that earned fines of $10,000 US for spitting in the direction of a heckling spectator at the end of his first-round match and $4,000 for an audible obscenity during his tempestuous win against No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round.
Against Nakashima, an unseeded 20-year-old from California, Kyrgios repeatedly was visited during changeovers by a trainer, who massaged and manipulated his shoulder. There was a stretch where Kyrgios’ high-speed serves dipped from above 217 kilometres per hour to closer to 177, but he eventually seemed to get past that and was back to producing unreturnable offerings over and over.
After Nakashima evened things by taking the fourth set with a break, then went up 1-0 in the fifth, Kyrgios surged to the finish. He earned five games in a row, before serving it out and closing this way from love-30: cross-court forehand passing winner; hanging in on an 11-stroke exchange until Nakashima missed a backhand; 216 km/h service winner; forehand volley winner.
“I’ve played a lot of tennis in the last month and a half. I’m just proud of the way I steadied the ship,” Kyrgios said. “Honestly that’s what I was thinking about: I’ve never lost a five-set match here. … I was like, ‘I’ve been here before. I’ve done it before.”‘
Garin wins in comeback fashion
This will be Kyrgios’ third appearance in a major quarter-final. The others came as a teenager at Wimbledon in 2014 — when he surprised then-No. 1 Rafael Nadal along the way — and at the Australian Open in 2015.
“I stepped out here against one of the greatest of all time and beat Nadal,” Kyrgios said. “So, these are all things I have in the back of my mind.”
Kyrgios next faces unseeded Cristian Garin, a 26-year-old from Chile who authored the fortnight’s first comeback from two sets down, saving two match points and turning things around to defeat No. 19 seed Alex de Minaur 2-6, 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (10-6) after more than 4 1/2 hours.
Garin, who is ranked 43rd, reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final in his 15th major appearance.
Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski and Australian partner John Peers were eliminated in the mixed-doubles quarterfinals at Wimbledon on Monday, ending Canada’s involvement in the professional draws at the grass-court Grand Slam.
Dabrowski and Peers fell 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 to Croatia’s Mate Pavic and India’s Sania Mizra.
Peers and Dabrowski, seeded fourth in the tournament, combined for 13 aces but converted just one of their three break point chances. Pavic and Mizra broke their opponents twice on three opportunities.
Pavic is a former partner of Dabrowski. They won the Australian Open in 2018 and reached the French Open final in 2018 and 2019.
Dabrowski and Mexican partner Giuliana Olmos were eliminated from the women’s doubles event on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-3 loss to Americans Danielle Collinas and Desirae Krawczyk.
The Canadians in the singles main draws — Denis Shapovalov, Bianca Andreescu, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Rebecca Marino — were eliminated over the first two rounds at the All England Club.
Several Canadians are still playing in the junior draws at Wimbledon.
Nadal converts 4th match point to seal win
Everything went smoothly for Rafael Nadal against Botic van de Zandschulp until it came time to close out their fourth-round match at Wimbledon.
Serving for the win at 5-3 in the third set, Nadal was broken for the second time in the match and he then failed to convert three straight match points when leading 6-3 in the ensuing tiebreaker.
That was the end of the Dutchman’s resistance, though, as Nadal converted his fourth match point for a 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (6) win on Centre Court.
The Spaniard is playing his first grass-court tournament since 2019, when he lost to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon semifinals. He is looking for his third Wimbledon title and has a chance at a calendar-year Grand Slam after winning the Australian Open and French Open to take his career tally to a record 22 major titles.
He will next face 11th-seeded Taylor Fritz, the only American man left in the draw. The 24-year-old has yet to drop a set and will be making his major quarter-final debut after defeating qualifier Jason Kubler 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.
2019 champ Halep moves on
Simona Halep is living up to her status as the only former Grand Slam champion left in this year’s women’s draw.
The Romanian beat fourth-seeded Paula Badosa 6-1, 6-2 on Centre Court to return to the Wimbledon quarter-finals and extend her winning streak at the All England Club to 11 matches.
The 16th-seeded Halep won the title in 2019 but missed last year’s edition with an injury, while the 2020 tournament was cancelled because of the pandemic. This was, however, Halep’s first win over a top-five ranked player on grass.
The former No. 1, who also won the French Open in 2018, has yet to drop a set in this year’s tournament and consistently got the better of Badosa in the baseline rallies. She finished with only nine unforced errors and saved the only break point she faced.
Badosa’s loss means No. 3 Ons Jabeur is the only top-10 seed left in the women’s tournament.
Halep will meet No. 20 Amanda Anisimova, a 20-year-old American who beat Harmony Tan of France 6-2, 6-3. Anisimova had eliminated French Open runner-up Coco Gauff last week; Tan eliminated 23-time major champion Williams in the first round.
The other quarter-final on their side of the field will be 17th-seeded Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan against Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia. Rybakina made it to the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Petra Martic, while Tomljanovic is there for the second straight year after beating Alize Cornet 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Cornet ended No. 1 Iga Swiatek’s 37-match winning streak on Saturday.
“I didn’t really think I could do it,” said Tomljanovic, who lost to eventual champion Ash Barty in last year’s quarter-finals. “After some tough moments this year, I thought: Am I ever going to get a chance again? I can’t believe a year later, I’m in the same position.”
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