Thu. Aug 18th, 2022

Nick Kyrgios lost the first nine points of his Wimbledon quarterfinal, spent the entire match in an sometimes demonstrative dialogue with himself and his team but ultimately delivered an assured winning display as he made his first-ever grand slam semifinal.

With the specter of an August court appearance hanging over him, the Australian dismantled world number 43 Cristian Garín in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5).

It was a moment that Kyrgios reflected upon after claiming victory when a Garín backhand sailed wide.

Kyrgios sat in his chair looking pensive before he admitted he thought at 27 his chance of making it this deep at a slam may have been gone.

“Honestly, I did not go about things great earlier in my career and may have wasted that little window.

“I’m just really proud of the way I have come back out here with my team and been able to put on a performance.

The win makes him the first Australian male to make the semifinals at The All England Club since Lleyton Hewitt in 2004.

Asked about his coaching situation, Kyrgios said: “I would never put that burden on someone, but each and every one of my team plays a very important role”.

“No one knows my tennis better than I do, I have been playing this sport since I was seven and to make the semifinal of a grand slam – I am pretty happy.”

Broken in the opening game of the match by his Chilean opponent, who had in the round before defeated Australian number one Alex De Minaur in five sets, Kyrgios only came to life on the 10th point of the match, when he broke Garín’s early streak with a thunderous pair of aces.

From there, despite banter with his box, the Australian appeared locked in and ready for the challenges Garín was throwing at him.

In the sixth game of the match, Kyrgios struck back.

A late flick of the wrist saw Kyrgios pass Garín crosscourt at full stretch and in ridiculous fashion to set up two break back points but the Chilean saved them before Kyrgios broke on the third attempt as Garín dumped a regulation backhand into the net.

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Still, things were tense and when Garín got a favorable net cord to set up two break points at 4-all, Kyrgios sarcastically applauded.

The Australian managed to save those and hold serve before he broke Garín to take the opening set as he let rip with a “let’s go”.

Kyrgios would continue the dialogue with himself throughout the second set but his focus remained as he reeled off eight straight points to hold serve and then break Garín for a 3-1 lead.

Garín pushed hard in the next game but again Kyrgios saved break points and the pair traded holds before the Australian broke again for a 5-2 lead and served out the second set two games later.

The third set saw Kyrgios battle his own demons as he screamed out, “his level has gone up, and yours has gone down”.

Nick Kyrgios sits and gestures.
Kyrgios, as ever, endured a running battle with himself throughout the quarterfinal.(Zac Goodwin / PA via Getty)

It was the case as the unforced errors for Kyrgios began to mount and the crowd began to get behind Garín.

But, serving at 2-3, Kyrgios staved off several break points and held for 3-all, as he reminded himself and his box to lift because Garín had just last round come back from two sets down to win.

The Australian, despite his level dropping off throughout the set and Garín looking increasingly dangerous, sent the third set to a tie break with a brilliant backhand half-volley.

He followed it up with a drop shot on the opening point as the pair traded mini-breaks throughout a tense tie break punctuated by both players’ forehand errors.

Two mis-hit forehands from Kyrgios even gave Garín a 5-3 lead before the net cord sent a Garín pass attempt wide to see the breaker level at 5-5.

Kyrgios then stuck a pair of volleys to bring up match point as Garín netted a forehand.

The drama threatened on match point as a linesperson called a Kyrgios return out before umpire James Keothavong overruled it but when Garín sent a backhand wide, the Australian moved into the final four, where he awaits either Spanish great Rafael Nadal or American Taylor Fritz.

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