Kyrgios Wins Five-Set Thriller To Return To Wimbledon QFs
After a seven-year wait, Nick Kyrgios is a Grand Slam quarter-finalist again.
In front of a full house on Centre Court, the Australian combined power with guile to edge #NextGenATP American Brandon Nakashima 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-2 in a hard-fought three-hour and 10-minute thriller.
The 27-year-old, who upset World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round, recovered from a slow start and a right shoulder problem to strike his groundstrokes more freely as the match went on. The World No. 40 hammered 78 winners and broke the 20-year-old Nakashima's serve three times to improve to 11-2 on grass in 2022.
“First I want to say, a hell of an effort by Brandon. Just 20 years old to do that. It was anywhere near my best performance, but I fought really hard and I am super happy to get through,” Kyrgios said in his on-court interview.
The last time Kyrgios reached the last eight at a major came at the Australian Open in 2015, while he also advanced to this stage on debut at The Championships in 2014. The six-time tour-level champion, who had regular physio treatments on his shoulder, will next play Chilean Cristian Garin as he looks to break new ground and reach his first Grand Slam singles semi-final.
”I have played a lot of tennis in the past month and a half. I am proud of the way I steadied the ship after he came out firing in the fourth set,” Kyrgios said. “My five-set record is pretty good. That is what I was thinking about. I have played a lot of five-set matches here. That is what I was thinking about. I have been here before and I have done it again.
“Brandon hasn’t played on this court. All those experiences that I have had on this court got me over the line.”
In their first ATP Head2Head meeting, it was Nakashima who started better. The American looked at home on the Centre Court stage, outmanoeuvring Kyrgios with his aggressive ball striking, while he dictated on serve, winning 93 per cent (14/15) of points behind his first delivery to lead.
However, playing against Kyrgios on a big occasion is never easy, and the Australian showed why in a much-improved second-set display. The 27-year-old started to hit through Nakashima and caused the American problems with his variety, closing the net effectively to level.
In a tight third set that went the distance, Kyrgios pulled off a string of stunning shots in the tie-break, timing his groundstrokes to perfection on return to move ahead, lifting the decibel level inside Centre Court.
Nakashima refused to go away in the fourth set, though. The American played more consistently, while he also showed flashes of magic to fire an array of winners past Kyrgios, levelling the match up to force a decider.
Kyrgios quickly regained his focus in the fifth set, targeting Nakashima's forehand to great effect to gain an early break. From there, the Australian held his nerve on serve, powering to victory against the tiring American.
Kyrgios is making his eighth Wimbledon appearance and he arrived in London in strong form, having reached consecutive grass-court semi-finals in Stuttgart and Halle last month.
#NextGenATP American Nakashima was competing in the fourth round at a major for the first time, having defeated Nicola Kuhn, Denis Shapovalov and Daniel Elahi Galan on the lawns in London. The World No. 56 was one of four Americans to reach the last 16, which was the most at Wimbledon since 1999.