On Monday everything was going smoothly for Rafael Nadal against Botic Van De Zandschulp until it was time to end their fourth-round match at Wimbledon.
Nadal, who won 5-3 in the decider, was broken for the second time in the match and then failed to convert three match points in a row as he led 6-3 in the ensuing tie break.
That was the end of the Dutchman’s resistance, however, as Nadal converted his fourth match point for a 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (6) win on center court. The Spaniard is playing his first grass tournament since 2019 when he lost to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon semifinals. He is looking for his third Wimbledon title and a calendar-year grand slam shot after winning the Australian Open and French Open to bring his career tally to a record 22 major titles.
“To be in the quarter-finals here at Wimbledon after not playing here for three years is incredible for me,” said Nadal. “So very, very happy.”
Nadal next meets 11th-seeded Taylor Fritz, the only American left in the draw.
Nick Kyrgios, meanwhile, returns to the quarter-finals of Wimbledon for the first time since his debut in 2014 after improving his record in five-set games at the All England Club to 6-0. Kyrgios overcame a sore shoulder and a slump in the fourth set to beat 20-year-old American Brandon Nakashima 4-6 6-4 7-6(2) 3-6 6-2.
Kyrgios required treatment on his right shoulder several times during the match and was fractured twice in a row in the fourth set.
But in the fifth he took a 5-1 lead and converted his first match point with a forehand volleyball. Despite the troublesome shoulder, Kyrgios finished with 35 aces.
And there was little evidence of antics or arguments from the Australian, unlike in his previous match against Stefanos Tsitsipas when he repeatedly argued loudly with the chair umpire and was accused of disrespect by his opponent. Kyrgios also needed five sets in the first round to get past Paul Jubb.
Kyrgios was fined $10,000 for spitting in the direction of a heckling spectator at the end of that game in the first round and $4,000 for an audible profanity during his stormy win over Tsitsipas in the third round.
“I could just say to myself, ‘Wow, look how far I’ve come’. I bounced the ball before I served; I was really just smiling to myself,” said Tour-High owner Kyrgios 11 wins on grass this season. “I was like, ‘We’re here, we’re going to Wimbledon and we’re doing well mentally.’ It was worth it.”
Next he meets another unseeded player, Cristian Garin of Chile, who defeated Alex de Minaur, two sets behind.
After three of his compatriots lost in the fourth round, Fritz ended that streak by defeating qualifier Jason Kubler 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 and reaching the last eight of a Grand Slam for the first time.
“I’m glad that as an American I was able to win on July 4th,” Fritz said in an interview on the pitch.
It was Fritz’s eighth consecutive victory on grass after winning a warm-up tournament at Eastbourne.
Garin came two sets down and saved two match points in the fifth set before defeating de Minaur and reaching his first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
The unseeded Chilean trailed 5-3 in the first-ten tiebreak in the fifth set before winning six straight points and taking a 9-5 lead. He then turned his second match point into a lead of 2:6, 5:7, 7:6(3), 6:4, 7:6(6) after 4:34 hours.
He is the first Chilean to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Fernando Gonzalez in 2009.
19th-seeded De Minaur had never lost a set against Garin in their previous three encounters and seemed poised to continue that streak as he led 3-1 in the third set tiebreak. The Aussie then saved two match points at 5-4 in the fifth.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
https://www.espn.com/tennis/story/_/id/34193915/rafael-nadal-nick-kyrgios-advance-wimbledon-men-quarterfinals Rafael Nadal, Nick Kyrgios advance into Wimbledon men’s quarterfinals