Nick Kyrgios lost the first nine points of his quarter-final at Wimbledon, spent the entire match in sometimes demonstrative dialogue with himself and his team, but ultimately delivered a guaranteed winning game when he made his first-ever grand slam semi-final.
With the specter of an August court appearance hovering over him, the Australian dismantled world number 43 Cristian Garín in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5).
It was a moment Kyrgios remembers after taking the win when a Garín backhand sailed wide.
Kyrgios sat thoughtfully in his chair before admitting that at age 27, he thought his chance of getting that deep with one punch might have been lost.
“Honestly, I haven’t done a great job earlier in my career and I may have wasted that little window.
“I’m just really proud of the way I came back here with my team and put in a performance.
The win makes him the first Australian man to reach the semi-finals at The All England Club since Lleyton Hewitt in 2004.
Asked about his coaching situation, Kyrgios said: “I would never put that burden on anyone, but each of my team plays a very important role”.
“No one knows my tennis better than I do. I’ve been playing this sport since I was seven and to get to the semi-finals of a grand slam – I’m quite happy.”
In the opening game of the match, he was broken by his Chilean opponent, who had defeated Australian number one Alex De Minaur in five sets in the previous round. a thunderous pair of aces.
From there, despite chatter with his box, the Australian seemed locked in and ready for the challenges Garín threw at him.
In the sixth game of the game, Kyrgios struck back.
A late flick of the wrist saw Kyrgios go full blast and ridiculously past Garín crosscourt to set up two breakback points, but the Chilean saved them before Kyrgios broke on the third attempt when Garín threw a regulated backhand into the net.
Still, things were tense and when Garín got a favorable power cord to set up two breakpoints at 4-all, Kyrgios applauded sarcastically.
The Australian saved it and held the serve before breaking Garín to take the opening set as he let go with a “let’s go”.
Kyrgios would continue the dialogue with himself throughout the second set, but his focus remained as he racked up eight straight runs to hold on to serve and then break Garín for a 3-1 lead.
Garín pushed hard in the next game, but again Kyrgios saved breakpoints and the pair exchanged grips before the Australian broke again for a 5-2 lead and served out the second set two games later.
In the third set, Kyrgios battled his own demons as he screamed “His level has gone up and yours has gone down”.
This was the case when the casual errors started to pile up for Kyrgios and the crowd started to get behind Garín.
But when he served at 2-3, Kyrgios managed to avert several breakpoints and held for 3-all, while reminding himself and his box to lift as Garín had just come back from two sets behind to finish the previous round. to win.
The Australian, despite his level dropping throughout the set and Garín looking increasingly dangerous, sent the third set to a tiebreak with a brilliant backhand half volley.
He followed it up with a dropshot at the opening point as the pair exchanged minibreaks during a tense tiebreak that was interrupted by forehand errors from both players.
Two mis-hit forehands from Kyrgios even gave Garín a 5-3 lead before the net cord sent a Garín pass attempt wide to see the breaker level at 5-5.
Kyrgios then threw a pair of volleys to collect the match point when Garín pulled in a forehand.
Drama loomed at match point when a linesman named Kyrgios returned before referee James Keothavong dismissed it, but when Garín sent a backhand wide, the Australian advanced to the last four, where he awaits either Spanish great Rafael Nadal or American Taylor Fritz .
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