Nadal Gains Revenge Against Kyrgios At Wimbledon
Two-time champion Nadal held off an in-form Kyrgios 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(3) on Centre Court to reach the Wimbledon third round and become only the ninth player in the Open Era to earn 50 wins at SW19 (50-11).
“Been a tough match obviously against a very tough opponent... Very happy the way that I hold the pressure. Very happy the way I played the tie-breaks with the right determination,” Nadal said.
The Spaniard withstood Kyrgios' best as the Aussie served and volleyed, dropped aces and smashed forehands crosscourt against the Nadal backhand. Kyrgios finished with 29 aces and was engaged throughout the second-round encounter.
In the tense third and fourth sets, neither player faced a break point. But Nadal was not deterred and stayed locked in to hold off Kyrgios in the tie-breaks.
The Spaniard is through to the Round of 32 for the 10th time and will next meet two-time semi-finalist (2011, 2012) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-3. Nadal leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 8-4, although Tsonga won their only grass-court matchup in 2011 at the Fever-Tree Championships.
Few second-round matches have carried the hype that Nadal-Kyrgios VII brought to SW19. The two had split their six FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, with Kyrgios winning their most recent matchup in Acapulco, where he saved three match points en route to the ATP 500 title.
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Five years ago, during their only grass-court matchup, a 19-year-old Kyrgios also stunned then-No. 1 Nadal, introducing himself to the tennis world with tweener winners and 37 aces.
But Nadal jumped on top early during their Wimbledon rematch, smashing forehand winners and, after the first tweener of the contest, a lob from Kyrgios, clubbing an overhead for the break. The Spaniard rolled from there, but the set wasn't without more theatrics as Kyrgios tapped an underhand ace for 3-5.
Kyrgios rebounded in the second, belting forehands and peppering his play with shouts of “Come on!” to twice break the World No. 2. Kyrgios even threw in another successful underhand serve.
But in the final two sets, Nadal was relentless as ever, avoiding a danger spot while serving at 4-4, Deuce, in the third set, and, after remaining on the attack, ripping a forehand winner to take a two sets to one lead. With momentum fully on his side, the Spaniard leapt in the air and pumped his fist.
Kyrgios stayed with him in the fourth but lost his way in the tie-break, which started with a missed Kyrgios overhead. “It was a high-level match. Two tie-breaks. I played a couple loose points here or there. That's all it takes against a player like that. He was just too good today,” Kyrgios said.