When Kyrgios Stunned No. 1 Nadal On His Centre Court Debut
Aussie advanced to first Grand Slam quarter-final at SW19
After saving nine match points against Richard Gasquet earlier in the tournament, Nick Kyrgios made even greater headlines at the All England Club on his Centre Court debut against World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in 2014.
The World No. 144, who entered the contest on an 11-match winning streak at all levels, was aiming to become the first man outside the Top 100 in the FedEx ATP Rankings to beat a World No. 1 at a Grand Slam in 22 years. The last man to achieve that feat was No. 193 Andrei Olhovskiy, who stunned Jim Courier at the same event in 1992.
On the other side of the net, Nadal was bidding to reach his first quarter-final at SW19 since 2011. The two-time champion entered the contest after three consecutive comeback victories, rallying from a set down to beat Martin Klizan, 2012 conqueror Lukas Rosol and Mikhail Kukushkin to reach the Round of 16.
If Nadal wanted to reach the last eight, he would have to continue that trend. Kyrgios edged a tight opening set in a tie-break, landing an ace out wide to take a one-set lead. While the Aussie wild card continued to hit winners — including a forward-facing tweener — in the second set, another Nadal comeback win appeared a real possibility after the Spaniard secured the first break of the match to snatch the second set.
But Kyrgios continued to trust his game in the important moments, edging another tie-break with a huge cross-court forehand return to move one set from victory. Early in the fourth set, the Aussie broke Nadal’s serve for the first time with another powerful forehand and held his advantage to complete a memorable 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-3 victory after two hours and 58 minutes. The 19-year-old quickly turned to his box in celebration, after reaching his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final on his Wimbledon debut.
“You’ve got to believe you can win the match from the start… I didn’t know what to do when I won,” said Kyrgios. “I just turned to everyone who has been supporting me my whole life. I love every single one of them. They get me over the line.”
The 6’4” right-hander carried his momentum through to the quarter-finals, taking the opening set against World No. 9 Milos Raonic. From there, the Canadian recovered well to take the next three sets and end Kyrgios’ dream debut at the All England Club.
Last year, Nadal gained his revenge against Kyrgios in the second round at Wimbledon. Across three hours and four minutes, the Spaniard earned a four-set win of his own en route to his second straight semi-final at SW19.