Nick Kyrgios appears to be on a collision course for a semi-final meeting with Rafael Nadal after beating fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 in a wild Wimbledon match in the third round.
After an exciting four sets of tennis, Kyrgios had a clear message for his critics.
“Everywhere I go the stadiums are full. The media likes to write that I am bad for the sport, but clearly not,” he said.
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‘MY GOD’: Wimbledon puts Nick Kyrgios in his place
Kyrgios was the better of the two in the opening set, but no one has ever doubted the Australian’s talent on grass.
It’s about whether Kyrgios can maintain his composure and focus. Unfortunately for the Australian, he unraveled in the space of 10 minutes to lose the tiebreaker and give up the opening set.
That was despite hitting a forearm tweener serve to close a service hold and at one point take a serve game in just 55 seconds, proving just how good he can be when his head is in the game.
Kyrgios, who earlier in the week called a linesman a “snitch,” was reactivated after one of his shots was called at a critical stage of the opening set.
“It’s 5-5 all bro, it’s 5-5 all bro. So get a new one, get a new referee,” he said.
“Bro, you’re supposed to make the right decision, you don’t get credit unless you make the right decision. You just say sorry and it’s all good? It’s f***ing…why don’t you just get a new umpire? He’s got one line to call, bro.’
In another flash point during the match, Kyrgios refused to return to the field after winning the second set 6-4, demanding that Tsitsipas default after sending a backhand volley to the crowd.
“Is that a standard or what? He just hit the ball to the fucking crowd. Are you stupid? So you can hit a ball to the crowd, hit someone and not fail? Are you stupid?” he said to the chair umpire.
‘You are a disgrace. You change the rules whenever you want…give me all the chaperones. I won’t play until we get to the bottom of it.
“The amount of shit the tournament is going to get after this press conference.”
Kyrgios had pointed to the incident where Novak Djokovic defaulted at the 2020 US Open, although the Serb hit a border woman on that occasion.
Replays on Sunday morning showed Tsitsipas’ backhand volley bouncing off a wall, narrowly hitting anyone in the crowd.
Shortly after, Kyrgios would return to court, although the drama was far from over.
The Australian found himself in a groove as he took control of the third set and at one point nailed a serve under the arms to the frustration of Tsitsipas, who received a code violation and points deduction.
When greeted with booing, Tsitsipas discharged the referee, telling him that Kyrgios has “zero respect for the game” and “zero respect for his opponents”.
Tsitsipas continued to vent his frustrations on Kyrgios, hitting the Australian three times within five minutes as tempers flared and threatened to boil over.
At that point, it would be a matter of who would be able to keep a cool head and focus back on the task at hand.
Kyrgios, taking the third set, slipped and fell early in the fourth, appearing to pinch his right hip, although the Australian was able to continue playing.
Tsitsipas nearly came to a decisive break in the eighth game of the set, although Kyrgios recovered from 0-40 to 4-4 as the rollercoaster continued.
Kyrgios saved another set point, then held on 5-5 before the fourth set went to a tiebreak.
Unlike the first set, the Australian thrived under pressure to take the tiebreak and pack Tsisipas.
The wild rollercoaster between the pair left the tennis world on the edge of its seat.
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