Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Quieter, quieter Kyrgios in Wimbledon quarters after years

Wimbledon, England ( Associated Press) — Nick Kyrgios stepped into nearly full center court to applaud at exactly 1:30 a.m. on Monday, nearly 3 1/2 hours later to loud applause and, somehow, the 100-year-old stadium. Survived by experience.

In the warmup period, Kyrgios flicked a ball between his legs and closed with an underarm serve, hardly standard procedure. Kyrgios got his first 7 1/2 years in a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-2 win over unseeded American Brandon Nakashima at Wimbledon, a number of times he made such tricks. Try shots. Later, they abandoned their rules-compliant but backward, brim-bent white hat and white shoes in favor of red versions.

“Because,” he explained, when he explained the sartorial choices, “I do what I want.”

Yet, somehow, the people in the Royal Box never turned their backs in protest. And, somehow, the grass-court tournaments of the 1880s didn’t stop there.

Maybe that’s because, in addition to hitting 35 aces and “ripping the ball off the baseline”—to use Nakashima’s words—he took painkillers and repeated treatments from a trainer, despite his shoulder hurting so much. Received, Kyrgios performed more calmly, fined $10,000 for spitting at spectators at the end of his first-round match and $4,000 for an audible obscenity during his stormy victory against No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in third. Much quieter demeanor than the person earning the fine. Round.

“I was just able to say, ‘Wow, look how far I have come,’ to myself. I was tossing the ball before serving; I really just smiled to myself,” Kyrgios said, Owning 11 wins on the grass this season. “I was like, ‘Here we are, we’re competing at Wimbledon, doing well mentally. It was rewarding. ,

Unseeded Kyrgios, now 6–0 in a five-setter at the All England Club, will next face 26-year-old unseeded Cristian Garin of Chile, who saved a pair of match points and made his first return of a fortnight from two sets. Of. 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.

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In the second quarter-finals, 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal will face 11th-ranked Taylor Fritz. Nadal beat No. 21 Botic van de Zandschulp 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (6) while 24-year-old American Fritz made his major quarterfinal debut with a 6-3, 6- 1, 6-4 win over qualifier Jason Kubler.

“It doesn’t even feel real,” said Fritz, who hasn’t missed a single set in the tournament.

Kubler, who is also an Australian, offered his opinion against Kyrgios.

“Whenever I see him, he’s smiling. Every time I’m around him, it’s like I’m laughing,” Kubler said. “So it’s so weird when I read or see comments about him, let him know how I do. He’s just one of those people if you hang out with him or have any kind of quality time with him.” spend, then you will fall in love with him. ”

The women’s quarterfinals set on Monday are 2019 champion Simona Halep versus No. 20 Amanda Anisimova, and No. 17 Elena Rybakina versus unseeded Ajla Tomljanovic.

The combined nine seeds competing in the women’s or men’s quarterfinals are the lowest totals at Wimbledon since 2000.

“I really didn’t think I could do that,” said Tomljanovic, who lost to eventual champion Ash Barty in the quarterfinals last year. “After a few tough moments this year, I thought: Will I ever get a chance again? I can’t believe I’m in the same position a year later.”

For Kyrgios, it has been a very long road, never one to follow the traditional path.

His last two Slam quarterfinals came at the age of 19 – at Wimbledon in 2014 and the Australian Open in 2015.

The Australian talked about feeling like a veteran at the age of 27, and on Monday included “composed” and “mature” in his self-description.

Not a word usually associated with Kyrgios, but again, as he told reporters at his press conference: “None of you really know me at all. Like, you don’t hang out with me at all. You’re the only one.” Let’s see what you see on the court. It’s always been a bit of a roller coaster. So I understand how it’s got mixed reviews. … People just like to have an opinion.”

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Making the case that he is a changed man, Kyrgios reflected on his second-round loss to Nadal on Center Court in 2019 and recalled: “My agent had to kick me out of a pub at 4 a.m. … I’ve come a long way, that’s for sure.”

Certainly since Saturday, at least, when he repeatedly argued with the chair umpire and a Grand Slam observer, and accused Tsitsipas of “bullying” and having “a very bad side”. Kyrgios has caused such an uproar before, earning ejections and suspensions, and has people wondering if his immense talent will ever lead him to the finale weekend of a major.

“Obviously,” said 20-year-old Nakashima, “you never really know what’s going to happen to him there.”

Nakashima took the fourth set with a break and then took a 1-0 lead in the fifth set. Kyrgios admitted to handing over the fourth to the eye to hinder his enemy. seemed to work: he earned five games in a row, before serving it up and ending with Love-30 that way: cross-court forehand passing winner; Hanged in an 11-stroke exchange until an exhausted Nakashima missed a backhand; 134 mph service winner; Forehand volleyball winner.

When it ended, Kyrgios patted his chest with his fist, screamed with a mixed word and turned to his guest box—which included his girlfriend and his support team, whom he helped become a better person off the court. but not a full-time coach because he doesn’t have one.

“I definitely need a glass of wine tonight,” Kyrgios told the crowd during his on-court interview. “Definitely.”

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More Associated Press Wimbledon coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/wimbledon and https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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