Nick Kyrgios provided the shock of Wimbledon 2014 with an emphatic victory over Rafael Nadal. The Australian, making his debut in the main draw at SW19, played the match of his life to set up a quarter-final meeting with Milos Raonic.
The Centre Court crowd had just witnessed an enthralling match between Angelique Kerber and Maria Sharapova, which saw the Russian exit the tournament. Kyrgios had claimed another scalp earlier in the competition, knocking out Frenchman Richard Gasquet, having been two sets and nine match points down in that match. Even so, those watching were probably anticipating a fairly trouble-free afternoon for Nadal, but they had not counted on the youthful exuberance of his opponent. With no reputation to defend, the world no.144 (a wildcard for this tournament) played without fear. His booming serve resulted in 37 aces and his powerful, flat groundstrokes left the number two seed floundering. Kyrgios won the first set on a tiebreak, but at that stage not many were countenancing the possibility of an upset. The Spaniard had dropped the first set in each of his previous three encounters and had gone on to win each of those matches relatively comfortably. It looked a tougher assignment this time around though, and it wasn’t until the twelfth game of the second set that Nadal converted a break point opportunity, and drew level.
- Kyrgios had too much for Nadal
At this point, it was expected that the match would then take a predictable course, with the underdog tiring and the favourite cruising to victory. However, Kyrgios continued to display impressive levels of focus and energy and was swinging freely, hitting the lines and manipulating the two-time Wimbledon Champion around the court. Another tiebreak arrived, and again it was the Australian who held his nerve, backed by some vociferous support. Things got even better in the fourth set, with Kyrgios continuing to wallop forehand after forehand past his dispirited opponent, and his consistency paid dividends as he secured his first break of serve. The seemingly impossible became inevitable, and the 19 year-old remained calm to serve out the match in confident fashion, sealing a stunning triumph with an ace.
Featured image: The Independent