Tennis: Kyrgios overcomes shoulder injury to reach Wimbledon quarter-finals

Nick Kyrgios celebrates winning a point against Brandon Nakashima, on July 4, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Nick Kyrgios overcame a right shoulder injury to defeat Brandon Nakashima of the United States in five sets and make the Wimbledon quarter-finals on Monday (July 4).

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 quarter-final, the fiery 27-year-old kept his cool on a sun-drenched Centre Court in a match lasting three hours and 11 minutes and will take on Chile's Cristian Garin for a place in the semi-finals.

He recovered from a slow start and his shoulder issue to strike his groundstrokes more freely as the match went on.

Kyrgios, who had regular physio treatments, hammered 79 winners including 35 aces, breaking the 20-year-old Nakashima’s serve three times to improve to 11-2 on grass in 2022.

The last time the 40th-ranked player reached the last eight at a major was at the Australian Open in 2015, a year after he reached the same stage on his debut at the All England Club.

“I have played a lot of tennis in the past month and a half,” he said. “I am proud of the way I steadied the ship after he came out firing in the fourth set.

“My five-set record is pretty good. That is what I was thinking about. I have played a lot of five-set matches here.”

Kyrgios will next play Garin, who battled back from two sets down and saved two match points to beat 19th seed Alex de Minaur of Australia.

The unseeded Chilean took the third set on a tie-break and went on to win 2-6, 5-7, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4, 7-6 (10-6) in a gruelling contest lasting four hours and 34 minutes.

“I tried to be aggressive, went to the net, and tried to be aggressive with my serve as well. I think that was the key,” he said.

Elsewhere, 11th seed Taylor Fritz cruised past Australian qualifier Jason Kubler 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.

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Nadal’s Grand Slam bid

Nadal, chasing the third leg of a calendar Grand Slam, found his rhythm in his third-round match against Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego and faces Dutch 21st seed Botic van de Zandschulp later on Monday.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion, twice a winner at the All England Club, swept into the last 16 in straight sets after needing four sets to progress in his opening two matches.

“My best match, without a doubt, since the tournament started,” said Nadal, the only top-10 player left in his side of the draw.

In the women’s competition, Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina reached the quarter-finals for the first time with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Petra Martic of Croatia.

She will face either Alize Cornet of France or Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic for a place in the semi-finals.

Harmony Tan, who defeated Serena Williams in the first round, takes on American Amanda Anisimova.

Tan, ranked 115th, needed more than three hours to see off Williams but on Saturday she hit top form, demolishing Britain’s Katie Boulter 6-1, 6-1 in just 51 minutes.

The most eye-catching match of the day in the top half of the draw is a contest between fourth seed Paula Badosa of Spain and 2019 champion Simona Halep, who is yet to drop a set.

Badosa is the only member of the world’s top 10 – along with Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur – left in the women’s tournament.

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Earlier, Wimbledon chief executive Sally Bolton said tournament bosses had lodged an appeal against fines handed down by the WTA women’s tour for bans on Russian and Belarusian players.

The All England Club imposed the sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and players were also prevented from playing in Wimbledon warm-up events.

Both the ATP men’s tour and the WTA reacted to the Wimbledon ban by stripping the Grand Slam of ranking points.

The Daily Mail reported that the Lawn Tennis Association, which runs the sport in Britain, was fined US$750,000 (S$1.05 million) and the All England Club US$250,000.

“It’s subject to a legal process so I can’t comment specifically but what I will say is that we stand by the decision we made,” said Wimbledon chief executive Sally Bolton. “We have appealed.”


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