The most anticipated round two match at Wimbledon was the centre court match between Australia’s Nick Kyrgios and Spain’s Rafael Nadal.
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It was a round of 16 match at Wimbledon in 2014 that Kyrgios announced himself to the world of tennis. At the time the Australian was ranked at no. 144 and Nadal was no. 1.
This was a bit of a grudge match after Kyrgios had defeated Nadal at Acapulco earlier in the year and the Australian got under the Spaniards skin after serving underarm at one stage.
“He could win Grand Slams and fight the top positions of the ranking, but there is a reason why he is where he is,’ said Nadal of the world No.43 afterwards. ‘I don’t think he’s a bad guy, not at all. I think he’s a good guy, but what he lacks is a little respect for the public, for his rival, and also for himself. I think he should improve that.” said Nadal after his Acapulco loss.
Kyrgios had added to the tension by calling Nadal ‘Salty’ when he loses.
The round two match was highly anticipated. Nadal got off to a good start winning the first set 6-3 after getting a single break of serve.
The winners were 8-8 in the opening set and unforced errors at 2-2. This was a top quality match.
As time went on Kyrgios showed his full range of shots including an underarm served that won the point when Nadal charged forward and netted in return.
Kyrgios was feuding with the umpire. A fault was called on a Nadal serve and Kyrgios had missed the shot, put off by the call which was found to be incorrect.
The umpire gave the point to Nadal as he said the call didn’t affect the shot from Kyrgios. The Australian was not happy. He basically gave the game away as he battled his emotions.
There was another tension building moment when Kyrgios blasted a shot straight at Nadal when he was at the net. He admitted afterwards he was aiming for Nadal. The Spaniard got his racquet on the ball but expected an apology from his opponent. None was given.
Kyrgios played a great second set. He hit five Aces and had 15 winners to 5. He hit seven unforced errors to Nadal with four. Kyrgios broke twice to win the set 6-3.
From there no player would again face a break point and both of the two final sets were decided in tie breakers. The Australian was 5-0 in tie breakers against Nadal but the Spaniard took the match as he won both breakers.
Nadal winning the match 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(3) in just over three hours.
The Spaniard was full of emotion as the match went on, showing just how much it meant to him as he won key points through the match.
“Been a tough match obviously against a very tough opponent… Very happy the way that I hold the pressure. Very happy the way I played the tie-breaks with the right determination,” Nadal said.
“I mean, I get disappointed, but at the same time (the way) I played today, I left it all out there,” a philosophical Kyrgios said in his press conference.
“I can’t be too disappointed. A couple points here or there. He’s a champion. He played well in those moments. That’s why he’s one of the greatest there is.
“I thought it was a high-level match. Two tiebreaks. I played a couple loose points here or there. That’s all it takes against a player like that. He was just too good today.”