Nadal beats Nick Kyrgios in entertaining clash

Rafael Nadal allowed the tennis to do the talking against an irate Nick Kyrgios, who twice served underarm, to progress to the Wimbledon third round.

Australian Kyrgios spent much of the match audibly questioning Nadal’s speed of play as the world number two prevailed 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3).

His constant arguing saw him handed an official warning by the chair umpire, who he later called a “disgrace”.

Spain’s Nadal will play Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the next round.

“He was a tough opponent,” Nadal, 33, told BBC Two. “When he wants to compete, he’s one of the toughest opponents you can face.

“It was an important victory for me, sometimes it’s tough to see a couple of things on court. It’s amazing how good he is able to play, so if he is able to forget all these things, he’s potentially a Grand Slam winner.”

Victory was two-time Wimbledon champion Nadal’s 50th match win at the All England Club.

The meeting came just five months after their last encounter at the Mexican Open in Acapulco, when Nadal was incensed by Kyrgios’ underarm serving.

At Wimbledon five years ago, the then 19-year-old Kyrgios hit a remarkable 37 aces to beat Nadal, becoming the first man outside the top 100 to beat a world number one at a Grand Slam since 1992.

The 24-year-old world number 43 told a news conference: “I know what I’m capable of.

“I’m a great tennis player, but I don’t do the other stuff. I’m not the most professional guy. I won’t train day in, day out. I won’t show up every day.

“So there’s a lot of things I need to improve on to get to that level that Rafa brings, Novak, Roger have been doing for so long. Just depends how bad I want it.”

It started at a canter for 18-time Grand Slam champion Nadal, holding to love in the opening game before immediately breaking Kyrgios who had already failed to pull off a “hot dog” lob between his legs.

Barely 15 minutes had been played when Kyrgios, who had been spotted in a local pub after 23:00 BST on Wednesday, started to show signs of discontent, telling the chair umpire he had been ignored after requesting a challenge.

He then started to complain about Nadal’s speed of play, indicating the Spaniard was not ready when he was preparing to serve.

“Why am I waiting to serve?” he asked, before soon asking the same question in the direction of his box.

And he then sealed his third game with an underarm serve, an action which had previously led to Nadal accusing him of lacking respect.

As Nadal took a comfort break at the end of the first set, Kyrgios making his feelings known with an almost constant shaking of the head.

“I’m serving next and he chooses to go now?” he asked the umpire.

He was the first to go a break up in the second set, firing a stunning forehand winner down the line on break point, before then saving two break points, the first with a deft drop shot, to go 3-0 ahead.

He pulled out another underarm serve, this time read by Nadal, but unlike the first, it was met by boos from the crowd as he extended his lead at 4-1.

Kyrgios – who frequently spat on the hallowed Centre Court turf – was then broken to love by Nadal, after which he engaged in a rant at the chair umpire which ended in him being handed an official warning.

“Feels good up there with all that power does it?” he said, before breaking Nadal once more and serving out the set.

That argument continued into the third set, with Kyrgios telling the chair umpire he had “no idea” as Nadal passed the time juggling the ball from foot to foot.

At 4-4, Kyrgios unleashed a forehand directly at his opponent’s body, leaving a rattled Nadal glaring at his opponent and, when he sealed that game, Nadal let out all his pent-up fury.

He went on to take the set on a tie-break, leaping into the air and releasing a barrage of Spanish, no doubt some colourful wording among it.

The fourth set went with the serve with Kyrgios uncharacteristically quiet, before Nadal dominated the tie-break to seal his spot in the third round.

Perhaps surprisingly, the two were amicable at the net as another chapter in their joint story came to an end. (Courtesy BBC Sports)


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