Sensational Kyrgios stuns Nadal
UPDATE 7.50am: Nick Kyrgios has caused one of the greatest Grand Slam upsets in history by defeating world No.1 Rafael Nadal in the fourth round at Wimbledon.
In the match of his life, on the biggest stage in tennis, against one of the greatest of all time, Nick Kyrgios delivered a performance for the ages.
The 19-year-old Australian pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Grand Slam history at Wimbledon on Tuesday, beating world No.1 Rafael Nadal in four sets to reach the quarterfinals.
Kyrgios, a wildcard entrant ranked 144th, continued a spectacular Wimbledon main-draw debut with a 7-6(5) 5-7 7-6(5) 6-3 win in just under three hours on Centre Court on Tuesday.
It set up a last-eight showdown on Wednesday with Canadian eighth seed Milos Raonic and put the tennis world on notice that a new star had arrived.
Former winners John McEnroe and Pat Cash believe the fearless Kyrgios can go on to emulate Boris Becker by winning the Wimbledon title as a teenager.
Kyrgios can’t quite believe what he’s achieved already.
“I was in a bit of a zone out there – it hasn’t sunk in yet,” Kyrgios said.
“That’s something I’m never going to forget.”
Kyrgios became the first teenager to defeat a world No.1 at a major since Nadal did it against Roger Federer at Roland Garros in 2005.
Ranked outside the top 800 at the start of last year, he’s likely to climb as high as 66th.
Far from overawed in by far the biggest occasion of his short career, a free-swinging Kyrgios lapped it up, going toe-to-toe with the 14-time Grand Slam champion in an enthralling encounter.
He put on a serving clinic, opening and closing with aces and blasting 35 others in between.
He reeled off a string of massive winners but also mixed up his game beautifully.
Most breathtaking was Kyrgios’ focus and ability to maintain his level – and composure – throughout the entire match.
Many have taken the first set against Nadal only for the relentless Spaniard to wear them down or pounce on the slightest drop in level.
Egged on by a boisterous centre court crowd, Kyrgios didn’t let it happen.
“I think on the big stage, it’s something I thrive on,” Kyrgios said of his coolness under pressure.
“The atmosphere, the crowd – I love that feeling.”
After carving out an unlikely run to the the last 16 on outside courts – including a second-round win over Richard Gasquet in which he saved nine match points – Kyrgios earned Centre Court status for the first time.
Any questions over how the Canberra teen would handle the occasion were answered quickly and emphatically.
He lost only four points on serve for the entire set, none behind his first serve, as he smashed down 13 aces.
But he was more than one-dimensional, matching it with Nadal in the longer rallies from the baseline and putting pressure on the Spaniard’s serve.
After a handful of opportunities, Kyrgios took a deserved one-set lead with an ace to seal the tiebreaker.
Early in the second set, Kyrgios had the crowd in awe with an outrageous, through-the-legs drop shot.
But a brief lapse when he was serving to stay in the set allowed Nadal to level the match.
The two-time Wimbledon champion Nadal appeared in control for most of the third set but Kyrgios again showed the nerve that has become a hallmark of his campaign.
He kept fighting, saving one set point on serve, and was rewarded when he edged the tiebreaker, forcing an error from Nadal with a superb cross-court return.
Even with a two-sets-to-one lead, Kyrgios showed no signs of over-excitement.
He broke to go 3-2 up and, asked to serve out the match, he didn’t drop a point.
He fittingly sealed the historic win with an ace, raising his arms in joy, acknowledging his support box and enjoying a brief dance.
Nadal said defeat was hard to take as he only lost serve once.
“On a surface like this, when he serves and hits every ball strongly, you are in trouble,” said the second seed.
“I didn’t think I played that badly.
“I congratulate him. For me? – the beach.”