Nick Kyrgios overcame a right shoulder injury to defeat Brandon Nakashima of the United States in five sets and make the Wimbledon quarterfinals on Monday.
Back on his best behaviour after his stormy and bitter third-round win over Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Australian came through 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/2), 3-6, 6-2.
Eight years after making his first Wimbledon quarterfinal, the fiery 27-year-old will take on Chile’s Cristian Garin for a place in the semifinals.
It will be Kyrgios’s first quarterfinal at the Slams since the 2015 Australian Open after a performance in which he conjured up 35 aces and a total of 79 winners.
“I have played a lot of tennis in the past month and a half,” said Kyrgios, shrugging off his shoulder problem.
“His level didn’t drop but my five-set level is pretty good and I’ve been here before, done it before and that is what I was thinking about.
“I’ve never lost a five-setter here.”
He added: “I need a large glass of wine tonight for sure.”
Kyrgios said that beating Rafael Nadal on his Wimbledon debut as the world number 144 in 2014 helped carry him to victory on Monday.
“I stepped out here and played one of the greatest of all time when I beat Nadal. All those experiences that I’ve had got me over the line today.”
Nadal is a potential semifinal opponent at this year’s Wimbledon.
Unlike the fireworks and controversy of his win over Tsitsipas, Kyrgios cut a subdued figure in the Centre Court sunshine.
The 27-year-old had one minor grumble over the state of the court on one of the baselines before he started to feel his right shoulder.
Serve dominated the opener until Nakashima grabbed the only break on the 10th game.
Kyrgios, however, broke for 2-1 in the second set before calling for a medical timeout to treat his right shoulder.
The trainer reappeared again to massage the Australian’s shoulder before Kyrgios levelled the tie.
Seemingly against the odds, he then stormed through the third-set tiebreak, wrapping it up with a flashing crosscourt forehand.
Back came Nakashima in the fourth, breaking for 4-3 and taking the set courtesy of a lazy Kyrgios service game.
Despite looking down and out, Kyrgios rallied in the decider, passing the 100-ace mark for the tournament and breaking in the third and fifth games to secure the win.
GARIN INTO QUARTERFINALS AFTER EPIC BATTLE
Garin showed amazing tenacity to come from two sets and 3-0 down and save two match points as he beat Australian Alex de Minaur in a hugely entertaining five-set slug fest on Monday to reach his first grand slam quarterfinal
Garin eventually triumphed 2-6 5-7 7-6 (3) 6-4 7-6(6) after four hours 34 minutes of superb tennis that brought a standing ovation from Wimbledon’s packed Number Two Court.
The two men hammered at each other, with only a handful of first-serve winners but with a crowd-pleasing sprinkling of classy drop shots and volleys in among the relentlessly accurate groundstrokes and lung-busting chasing to reach them.
De Minaur, who does not know the meaning of a lost cause, seemed to be cruising as he took the first two sets and led 3-0 in the third but Garin showed great spirit to fight back via a tiebreak and then set up a decider.
Garin saved two match points at 4-5 to take the match to the new “first to 10” final-set tiebreak, where he came through to set up a last-eight meeting with either Nick Kyrgios or Brandon Nakashima.
FRITZ FLIES INTO WIMBLEDON QUARTERS
Until Monday, Wimbledon’s 11th seed Taylor Fritz was not even the best tennis player in his own family.
But with some hefty swipes of a garish coral-coloured racket on Court One, the American finally earned his family stripes by reaching the quarter-finals of the grasscourt grand slam.
His 6-3 6-1 6-4 win over qualifier Jason Kubler put him into the last eight here, and saw him match the grand slam feat of his mother who, as Kathy May, reached three slam quarter-finals in the late 1970s.
“My first grand slam quarter-final, that’s really a big deal,” the 24-year-old Fritz said before leaving court. “Part of the final eight and… I’m glad I could get the win on the Fourth of July, being American.”
It was a muscular and domineering display from Fritz, champion on grass at Eastbourne coming into this tournament, and the outcome was never really in doubt from the start with the gulf in class only yawning wider as the match progressed.
Australian qualifier Kubler had already written another chapter of his remarkable success-in-the-face-of-adversity fairytale by reaching the second week. He has survived six knee operations to further his career but just ran out of steam and Wimbledon road.
Having beaten Kubler, the player known as “the right-handed Nadal”, Fritz could next face the real deal, with Spain’s second-seeded Rafa a possible last-eight opponent.
Nadal takes on Botic van de Zandschlup later on Day Eight.
NADAL REACHED QUARTERFINALS FOR THE EIGHTH TIME
Rafael Nadal reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the eighth time on Monday with a straight-sets defeat of Botic van de Zandschulp.
Nadal, who has already won the Australian and French Opens to stand halfway to the first calendar Grand Slam since 1969, triumphed 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (8/6).
Next up for the 36-year-old Spaniard is a clash against American 11th seed Taylor Fritz, who beat him in the Indian Wells final earlier in the year.
“To be back in the quarterfinals after not being here for three years is amazing,” said the 2008 and 2010 champion,
“I expect a very tough match against Taylor – he won his first Masters title this year against me in the final.
“The quarterfinals of a Slam are always very tough.”
Nadal had already defeated Van de Zandschulp in straight sets at the French Open and he was hardly troubled Monday until a third set blip.
He broke the world number 25 Dutchman in the 10th game to secure the opening set.
The 22-time major winner backed it up with a double break in the second set.
Van de Zandschulp managed to stem the bleeding, retrieving a break in the third to get to a tiebreak.
He saved three match points before his challenge ended with a wild smash.