Wimbledon memories: Reliving epic wins
Saving multiple match points in thrilling Wimbledon victories created new career highlights for Australians Nick Kyrgios and Arina Rodionova.
For many Australians, Wimbledon means late winter nights in front of the television cheering for our top-ranked Aussie players. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that is not happening in 2020 with the world’s most famous grass-court tournament cancelled for the first time since World War II.
For those missing Wimbledon, let’s look back on some recent thrillers that had Aussie fans on the edge of their seats (or couches!) …
Nick Kyrgios rewrote the record books in his Wimbledon debut in 2014, saving nine match points before overcoming No.13 seed Richard Gasquet in the second round.
Fighting back from a two-set deficit against the Wimbledon 2007 semifinalist, Kyrgios set a tournament record for most match points saved in the three hour, 53 minute battle.
It was also a first career top-20 win for Kyrgios, who was a No.144-ranked wildcard at the time.
“It was an unbelievable match out there. My first ever two sets love down, coming back and winning. It’s an amazing feeling,” said Kyrgios, who hit 86 winners and saved one of his match points with a successful challenge on a double fault.
“It seemed like a massive hill to climb. I stuck in there. I just fought and I gave myself the opportunity to win the match.”
It propelled the 19-year-old into a Grand Slam third round for a first time.
“It can be a building bridge for more things to come,” predicted Kyrgios, who famously defeated world No.1 Rafael Nadal two rounds later.
Arina Rodionova’s career-first Grand Slam win was certainly a memorable one. As a No.166-ranked qualifier, the 27-year-old saved seven match points to upset 16th seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Rodionova, making her Wimbledon main draw singles debut, saved match points in both the second and third sets of the thrilling two hour and 30 minute encounter.
“It was pretty incredible. I lost count of how many match points I faced,” said Rodionova, who needed five match points of her own.
After scoring her second career top-20 win, Rodionova burst into tears as she embraced her team courtside – which included sister Anastasia, a former top 20-ranked doubles player.
“Considering that it’s at a Grand Slam, this is definitely the biggest win of my career,” said Rodionova.
“The pressure was on her and she was the big favourite to win the match. There was no pressure on me. I was just determined to enjoy it, play at Wimbledon for the first time and have some fun and I certainly did that.”