Nadal triumphs in three-hour epic with Kyrgios
LONDON — Rafael Nadal endured a threehour marathon to beat Nick Kyrgios over four sets in a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3) victory for a place in the third round at Wimbledon on Thursday.
The world No. 2, who has won the championship twice, has now claimed a milestone 50th win at the event.
“Victories like this help because I spent hours on court,” said Nadal after completing the threehour and four-minute match.
“I played under pressure. I had to do lot of things well. I was able to find a way to be through. Now I have another tough opponent in front.”
Nadal will come up against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in round three after he beat Ricardas Berankis 76 (7-4), 6-3, 6-3.
Kyrgios has claimed a Wimbledon win over Nadal before when he earned a memorable fourset victory over the 12-time French Open winner as a 19-year-old in the 2014 edition.
But this time, Nadal had the upper hand as he secured an early break to go 2-0 up en route to the first set lead.
Kyrgios grabbed the early advantage in the second with a ferocious forehand giving him a 20 head start and treated the Centre Court audience to his trademark underarm serve before extending his lead to 4-1.
There was drama when Kyrgios, who has a ‘bad boy’ reputation, began arguing with the umpire and was given a conduct violation.
Kyrgios said to the umpire: “You think you’re so important and you like the power up there, don’t you?”
“He was just terrible,” said Kyrgios when asked about the umpire’s performance.
“I thought the way he handled the match was just bad. I just don’t think he was up to scratch today. That’s most definitely not why I lost.”
Nadal trimmed the lead to 4-3 with a break but the third seed lost the advantage with a netted return, which allowed Kyrgios to tie up the set.
In the third set tie-break, Nadal fired down an
ace for a 4-1 advantage and a wild Kyrgios return opened up three set points before Nadal moved in front following a whipped forehand.
No break of serve could be found in the fourth set as the clock ticked over three hours going into the final tie-break.
Kyrgios fell 3-0 behind with errors and four more mistakes from Kyrgios finished off a gladiatorial contest as Nadal raised his arms in triumph after Kyrgios netted the final return.
“There’s a lot of things I need to improve on to get to that level that Rafa brings,” said Kyrgios.
“I left it all out there. I can’t be too disappointed.”
Earlier, Roger Federer extended his record for third round appearances at grand slam tournaments after he prevailed 6-1, 7-6 (6-3), 6-2 against British wildcard Jay Clarke.
Federer has now appeared 70 times in the third phase of a major tournament and his latest victory means that the 37-year-old Swiss is three results away from becoming the first man to claim 100 wins at Wimbledon.
Federer will next play Lucas Pouille in the third round after he downed compatriot Gregoire Barrere in straight sets 6-1, 7-6 (70), 6-4.
Elsewhere in the men’s draw, more top seeds fell including last year’s semi-finalist John Isner and 2017 finalist Marin Cilic.
American ninth seed Isner was defeated in five sets by Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4, 6-7 (37), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Cilic, the Croatian 13th seed, lost in straight sets 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to Portugal’s Joao Sousa.
In the women’s draw, defending champion Angelique Kerber is out after the former world No. 1 lost 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 to American Lauren Davis in an upset victory.
“I was not really feeling good from the beginning,” said Kerber, who has won three grand slam titles.