Quieter Kyrgios overcomes shoulder, US foe at Wimbledon
WIMBLEDON – Much quieter, much calmer, than in his previous match, Nick Kyrgios overcame a troublesome right shoulder to deliver 35 aces and beat Brandon Nakashima 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-2 at Wimbledon on Monday to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the first time in 7 1/2 years.
The unseeded Kyrgios improved to 6-0 over his career in five-setters at the All England Club and collected his tour-leading 11th grass-court victory of the season. “I need a glass of wine, for sure, tonight. For sure,” Kyrgios told the crowd during his on-court interview, after swapping out his rule-conforming white hat and shoes for red versions.
Playing before a nearly full house at Centre Court, the 27-year-old Australian only occasionally displayed his unusual repertoire of trick shots — a between-the-legs swing here, an underarm serve there — or the temper that earned fines of $10,000 for spitting in the direction of a heckling spectator at the end of his first-round match and $4,000 for an audible obscenity during his tempestuous win against No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round.
Against Nakashima, an unseeded 20-year-old from California, Kyrgios repeatedly was visited during changeovers by a trainer, who massaged and manipulated his shoulder. There was a stretch where Kyrgios’ high-speed serves dipped from above 135 mph to closer to 110 mph, but he eventually seemed to get past that and was back to producing unreturnable offerings over and over.
After Nakashima evened things by taking the fourth set with a break, then went up 1-0 in the fifth, Kyrgios surged to the finish. He earned five games in a row, before serving it out and closing this way from love-30: cross-court forehand passing winner; hanging on in an 11-stroke exchange until Nakashima missed a backhand; 134 mph service winner; forehand volley winner.
Kyrgios next faces unseeded Cristian Garin, a 26-year-old from Chile who authored the fortnight’s first comeback from two sets down, saving two match points and turning things around to defeat No. 19 seed Alex de Minaur 2-6, 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (10-6) after more than 4 1/2 hours. Garin, who is ranked 43rd, reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal in his 15th major appearance.
The other quarterfinal on their half of the draw will be No. 11 Taylor Fritz against 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal or No. 21 Botic van de Zandschulp. Fritz, a 24-year-old American, has yet to drop a set and will be making his major quarterfinal debut after defeating qualifier Jason Kubler 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.
The only owner of a Grand Slam title left in the women’s bracket, Simona Halep, extended her Wimbledon winning streak to 11 matches by overwhelming fourth-seeded Paula Badosa 6-1, 6-2. Halep will go up against No. 20 Amanda Anisimova, a 20-year-old American who beat Harmony Tan of France 6-2, 6-3. Anisimova had eliminated French Open runner-up Coco Gauff last week; Tan eliminated 23-time major champion Williams in the first round.
The other quarterfinal on their side of the field will be 17th-seeded Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan against Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia. Rybakina made it to the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the first time with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Petra Martic, while Tomljanovic is there for the second straight year after beating Alize Cornet 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.