WIMBLEDON (AFP): Nick Kyrgios is back in action at Wimbledon on Monday after his dramatic victory against Stefanos Tsitispas as he closes in on a mouthwatering semi-final with Rafael Nadal.
The maverick Australian toppled Tsitispas in a heated four-set thriller on Saturday, during which he called for the fourth seed to be kicked out of the tournament for hitting a ball into the crowd.
Kyrgios called the umpire a “disgrace” as tempers frayed and the bad feeling spilled over into the post-match press conferences.
The defeated Greek player said his opponent has an “evil side” and described him as a “bully”, comments that Kyrgios laughed off.
Kyrgios, 40th in the world, thrives on his bad-boy image and Saturday’s outbursts were not even his first of the tournament.
But it will be a different challenge against American Brandon Nakashima, a player he has never faced before, and he may struggle to re-create the big-match intensity on Centre Court.
Kyrgios, who has only reached the quarter-finals of two Grand Slams, believes he has the firepower to win Wimbledon.
“Round by round, if I keep doing my things, I feel good. I’m all right,” said the 27-year-old, who had vocal support from the crowd on Saturday despite his antics.
Nadal, chasing the third leg of a calendar Grand Slam, found his rhythm in his third-round match against Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego and now faces Dutch 21st seed Botic van de Zandschulp.
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.
“I made improvements today. Very happy for that.
“I made a lot of things much better than the previous days, the determination, the way that I manage to play more aggressive, going to the net plenty of times.”
In the other two last-16 matches, Australia’s Alex De Minaur plays Cristian Garin of Chile while Australia’s Jason Kubler takes on 11th-seeded American Taylor Fritz.
Quarters beckon for Tan
In the women’s competition, Harmony Tan, who defeated Serena Williams in the first round, takes on American Amanda Anisimova.
Tan 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.
Tan, ranked 115 in the world, said she was enjoying Wimbledon.
“I think I like grass,” she said. “I never play on this court but I like to play with slice and volley and everything with my game so I’m really happy.”
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.
Romania’s Halep, who is the 16th seed this year, said becoming a champion at the All England Club gave her confidence.
Badosa is the only member of the world’s top 10 — along with Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur — left in the women’s tournament.
French veteran Alize Cornet, who ended Polish top seed Iga Swiatek’s 37-match winning run on Saturday, faces Australian Ajla Tomljanovic while 17th seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan goes up against unseeded Croatian Petra Martic.