The terrible child of Australian tennis has grown up. Eight years after having struck down Rafael Nadal in the round of 16 of Wimbledon, at only 19 years old, Nick Kyrgios finally crossed the milestone of the quarter-finals in the Grand Slam.
Considered by many to be a wasted talent, the entertainment worker managed the best fortnight of his career in London. This Wednesday on court No. 1, the 40th in the world, in turmoil following accusations of assault from a former girlfriend, outclassed surprise guest Cristian Garin (6-4, 6-3, 7- 6 ). He thus reached the last four of a Major for the very first time in his career.
Shattering start from Garin
Like two days earlier in the round of 16 against Brandon Nakashima (4-6, 6-4, 7-6, 3-6, 6-2), the meeting had however started rather badly for Kyrgios. The Aussie gave up the first nine points of the match and quickly found themselves trailing 2-0, 0-15. It must be said that opposite, Garin boldly played his chance of entry.
Seventh Chilean to play in a Grand Slam quarter-final, the first since Fernando Gonzalez at the US Open 2009, the 43rd in the world managed an excellent return game by perfectly relaunching three first balls from Kyrgios, who then favored the effect and the zone to power, which he will vehemently reproach his clan when he gives up his white service on a huge forehand from Garin.
On cloud nine for ten minutes, like this short reverse winning cross to lead 2-0, the 26-year-old gradually returned to a more “normal” level while Kyrgios suddenly accelerated. Behind a magnificent passing forehand cross at the end of the race, the Australian took advantage of two backhand faults from Garin to come back level. At 4-4, he saved two break points before his opponent made four big mistakes in a row, including three on the forehand, and gave him the set on a board.
Despite the tension, Kyrgios comes through in three sets
Impressive in service (17 aces, 73% of points won behind his first ball), Kyrgios could afford to take risks on the return and put constant pressure on Garin who cracked again at 2-1 on a “baduf” volley. The former 13th in the world saved three break points on his next two engagements and ended the second set with an ace.
Perhaps caught up in the prospect of qualifying for his first Grand Slam semi-final, Kyrgios began to scatter. He spoke – bellowed, rather – more and more towards his clan – so much so that the audience launched a powerful “shh” to ask him to lower the volume – and practically only played on his qualities as a server to stay in contact in a set dominated by Garin.
“I’m not thinking about the semi-final yet. Tonight, my father is going to cook us some food and we’re going to watch a little movie. That’s all. »
The Chilean missed the mark at 3-2 in his favor when he got three break chances, but the “Kygs” saved them with courage, especially the second, on a winning drop shot. Everything was finally decided in the deciding game. Twice, Kyrgios took control with a mini-break lead (2-0 then 3-1), but he committed several unusual faults (double fault, woody forehand and forehand in the corridor) and found himself trailing 5-3.
The Australian hung on and showed courage by winning two points at the net thanks to his reflexes on the volley as much as to badly shot passing shots by Garin. After a last backhand fault from the Chilean, Kyrgios collapsed on the grass which finally sent him into the last four of a Grand Slam. On Friday, he will face Rafael Nadal or Taylor Fritz.