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Kyrgios Stuns Nadal To Reach Quarters

Wimbledon, Great Britain

Kyrgios© AFP/Getty ImagesNick Kyrgios stunned Rafael Nadal to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final.

World No. 144 Nick Kyrgios pulled off the upset of The Championships so far on Tuesday as he stunned World No. 1 Rafael Nadal 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-3 with a fearless display to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

"I think I was in a bit of a zone out there," Kyrgios told BBC television. "It hasn't sunk in what just played out out there. I played extraordinary tennis. I was struggling a bit on return, but I worked my way into it. I served at a really good level and I'm really happy.

"You've got to believe you can win the match from the start and I did. I'm playing unbelievable tennis on the grass. He hit extraordinary shots, but he's always going to bring that."

The 19-year-old Kyrgios is making his Wimbledon main draw debut as a wild card and goes on to face Canadian Milos Raonic on Wednesday. The pair met five weeks ago in the Roland Garros first round, with Raonic advancing in straight sets.

Read: Kyrgios Star Of Tomorrow

Just last year, Kyrgios was lifting the boys’ doubles trophy with fellow Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis. The Canberra native came into Wimbledon on the back of winning the Nottingham grass-court ATP Challenger Tour title and had won just one tour-level match this season. He is the first player to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals on his debut since Florian Mayer in 2004 (l. to Grosjean).

En route to setting the Nadal clash, Kyrgios had saved nine match points to upset No. 13 seed Richard Gasquet in five sets in the second round.

"I just go through my routine and I just play aggressive," said Kyrgios. "If they play too good on that point, then it's too good. But I'm going to go after it and give myself the best chance to win the point."

Kyrgios is the first player outside the Top 100 to beat the World No. 1 since Andrei Olhovsky defeated Jim Courier in the 1996 Roland Garros first round. He is the first teenager to defeat a World No. 1 since Nadal beat Roger Federer in the 2005 Roland Garros semi-finals.

"That's the biggest win of my career obviously, and that's something I'm never going to forget," he said. "I'm going to draw so much confidence out of that no matter where I play now. To have that under my belt, it's massive."

Striking 70 winners, including 37 aces, Kyrgios did not blink as he closed out victory over Nadal in two minutes shy of three hours on Centre Court. The Australian missed a set point chance in the 12th game of the opener, but kept his focus in the tie-break and sealed the set with an ace out wide.

NadalNadal looked to have swung the momentum in his favour as continued chipping away at Kyrgios’ service games in the second set paid dividends in the 12th game. The Spaniard converted his second set point as Kyrgios netted a forehand, levelling the match with the first service break.

The second-seeded Nadal had the chance to take a two-sets-to-one lead in the 12th game of the third set, but he was denied on a set point with an unreturned serve by Kyrgios and in the subsequent tie-break, Kyrgios converted his first set point at 6-5 with a rifling forehand that Nadal returned wide.

Instead of sensing the occasion and tightening up in the fourth set, Kyrgios pounced on Nadal’s serve in the fourth game, breaking the Spaniard for the first time in the match. He went on to serve out the match to love. 

"The thing is this surface, when you have an opponent that decides to serve and to hit every ball very strong, you are in trouble," said Nadal. "I think that I didn't play really bad, but that's the game in this surface.  

"I think in the second and the third set I was better than him, but I was not able to convert those opportunities. And for the rest, I think he played better than me. So, in general, talking about what you need to win in this surface, he did the things better than me."

The 28-year-old Nadal captured his 14th Grand Slam championship last month at Roland Garros and was attempting to win the Roland Garros – Wimbledon double for the third time, adding to triumphs in 2008 and 2010. Kyrgios is the lowest-ranked player to defeat Nadal since No. 690 Joachim Johansson at 2006 Stockholm and the lowest-ranked player Nadal has ever lost to at a Grand Slam.

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©Lionel Maltese


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