Kyrgios races into Wimbledon semifinals, to battle Nadal

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jul 07 2022 01:49 AM | Updated as of Jul 07 2022 04:03 AM

Nick Kyrgios of Australia in action against Cristian Garin of Chile at the Wimbledon Championships on July 6, 2022. Neil Hall, EPA-EFE
Nick Kyrgios of Australia in action against Cristian Garin of Chile at the Wimbledon Championships on July 6, 2022. Neil Hall, EPA-EFE

Nick Kyrgios reached his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon on Wednesday when the controversial Australian defeated Cristian Garin of Chile in straight sets.

The world No. 40 raced to a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (5) win and will tackle either Rafael Nadal for a place in the final.

Nadal overcame an injury to beat Taylor Fritz, keeping alive his dream of a calendar Grand Slam.

The second seed lost the first set and had to take a medical time-out in the second but raised his game to win 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (10) in a match lasting four hours and 21 minutes.

"I never thought I'd be in the semi-final of a Grand Slam. I thought that ship had sailed, that I may have wasted that little window in my career," said Kyrgios.

"I am really happy I was able to come out here with my team and able to put on a performance."

He added: "I felt I was playing on the back foot a lot. Garin's a hell of a player. I got lucky on a couple of break points so I'll take that and will prepare for my next match."

Kyrgios, who shot to fame when he defeated Nadal at the tournament as a 144th-ranked wild card eight years ago, is the first Australian man into the semis at Wimbledon since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005.

He went into the match under a new cloud of controversy after it emerged he faces an Australian court next month to answer an allegation of assault.

His 2022 Wimbledon has also been a rollercoaster.

Brilliant, crowd-pleasing shot-making has been accompanied by $14,000 in fines and an ugly, bitter spat with third-round rival Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The 27-year-old was certainly distracted in the opening stages of Wednesday's match as Garin claimed the first nine points.

But the Australian was back on level terms at 3-3 and grabbed the opening set in the 10th game.

Kyrgios romped through the second set, wrapping it up with his 10th ace of the contest.

Garin, bidding to be the first Chilean to reach a Wimbledon semi-final, ran into a Kyrgios brick wall as the Australian saved eight of the nine break points he faced over the course of the match.

Victory took Kyrgios's grass-court record in 2022 to 12 wins in 14 matches.

"I don't have a coach – I would never put that burden on someone," said Kyrgios.

"Each and every one of my team plays a very important role. No one knows my tennis more than I do, I've been playing this sport since I was seven and I'm very happy."

- Abdominal problem –

Nadal, a 22-time Grand Slam champion, admitted he was suffering from an abdominal problem.

"For a lot of moments I was thinking I would not be able to finish the match but the crowd, the energy, thanks for that," said the Spaniard.

"I honestly enjoy a lot playing these kind of matches in front of you guys. I can't thank you enough for the support."

Nadal, who has already won the Australian Open and the French Open this year, is halfway to the first calendar Grand Slam by a man since Rod Laver in 1969.

He is also bidding to win his 23rd Grand Slam title and equal Serena Williams in second place on the all-time list for most Grand Slam singles titles. Margaret Court is the leader on 24 titles.