Wimbledon 2015

Kyrgios is in his element

Nick Kyrgios showing his playful nature, dropping his racket and standing frozen to the spot with a look of mock confusion, even as the ball girl hands it back.
Nick Kyrgios showing his playful nature, dropping his racket and standing frozen to the spot with a look of mock confusion, even as the ball girl hands it back. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Australian plays to the crowd with antics but also shows his brilliance in beating Raonic

LONDON • Wimbledon giant-killer Nick Kyrgios claimed another impressive scalp, as the Australian youngster took revenge on Milos Raonic with a 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 third-round victory yesterday.

Kyrgios' memorable Wimbledon debut, which included a stunning upset of Rafael Nadal, was ended by Raonic in a tight four-set quarter-final last year.

But the 20-year-old tennis player made amends for that loss when he eliminated the Canadian seventh seed yesterday to set up a last-16 clash with French 21st seed Richard Gasquet, who upset 11th seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

Kyrgios, seeded 26th, hit 34 aces and blasted 61 winners in two hours and 42 minutes of hard-hitting action on Court Two.

"I lost my focus a bit towards the end of the first set but I knew what my game plan was and I stuck to it.

  • RESULTS

    WIMBLEDON (selected), 3rd rd

    Men: Kevin Anderson (Rsa) bt Leonardo Mayer (Arg) 6-4 7-6 (8-6) 6-3, Nick Kyrgios (Aus) bt Milos Raonic (Can) 5-7 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 6-3, Stanislas Wawrinka (Sui) bt Fernando Verdasco (Esp) 6-4 6-3 6-4, Richard Gasquet (Fra) bt Grigor Dimitrov (Bul) 6-3 6-4 6-4, David Goffin (Bel) bt Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp) 6-3 6-4 6-2.

    Women: CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) bt Samantha Stosur (Aus) 6-2 6-0, Belinda Bencic (Sui) bt Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 7-5 7-5.

"Last year, I tried to hit too many winners off his serve.

"This time, I went to the chipped approach and it worked," he said.

Kyrgios faces another rematch in the fourth round after beating Gasquet in a dramatic five-setter in the second round last year.

"Last year, I came from two sets down against him but he is a savvy veteran and beat (Grigor) Dimitrov in straight sets today so he must be playing well," said the wary Australian player.

"I don't fear anyone. I feel I'm playing better tennis than last year. I'm going to serve well and stay aggressive whoever I play."

The flamboyant and fiery Kyrgios has earned a reputation as something of a malcontent after a series of rows with umpires and line judges, including shouting "dirty scum" during one disagreement, in the first two rounds.

He had found himself in trouble with Wimbledon officials again on Thursday, when he was told off for climbing a wall to watch compatriots Lleyton Hewitt and Thanasi Kokkinakis play doubles on a crowded court.

And it did not take long for Kyrgios to start indulging in more colourful antics against Raonic, dropping his racket and standing frozen to the spot with a look of mock confusion after completely missing a return of serve.

Trying to stay in the first set at 5-6, Kyrgios went into meltdown with three double faults to hand the lead to his opponent.

The Australian earned a warning after hurling his racket early in the second set. But the youngster gathered himself well enough to produce a brilliant cross-court forehand winner that secured his first break of the match at 5-5 and effectively sealed the set.

Waving his racket in time with the chants of the Australian fans, Kyrgios got into the groove and he took the third set with an immaculate tie-break before a dominant fourth set sealed the win.

Stan Wawrinka produced another clinical victory, when he overcame Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the fourth round.

The French Open champion has not dropped a set in his three opening matches.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

WIMBLEDON

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2015, with the headline 'KYRGIOS IS IN HIS ELEMENT'. Print Edition | Subscribe