Wimbledon: Rafael Nadal turns back Nick Kyrgios in high-quality encounter to progress to third round
Nadal reacts after knocking off Kyrgios/Photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Wimbledon: Rafael Nadal turns back Nick Kyrgios in high-quality encounter to progress to third round

The Spaniard exacted a measure of revenge on the Aussie as he moved one step closer to a third title at the All-England Club.

john-lupo
John Lupo

served The much-anticipated second round match between Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios lived up to its billing as the Spaniard came through a difficult test to post a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) win to advance to the third round at  where another stern challenge awaits in the form of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Nadal paid Kyrgios back for a shock defeat in 2014 when the Aussie was a 19-year old making his debut at the All-England Club, knocking off the then top-seeded Spaniard in four sets on Centre Court. The two men broke twice each in the encounter with the 2008 and 2010 champion claiming early leads in both tiebreakers.

Nadal takes four-set contest over Kyrgios to claim spot in last 32

Unlike his first round match where he got off to a slow start, falling behind by an early break, Nadal charged out of the gate, breaking in the second game with a batch of winners and a smash off of a Kyrgios drop shot.

A love hold got the Aussie into the match, but he was still behind 3-1. Both men held with relative ease until the ninth game where Kyrgios got to 30-30 only to see Nadal take the final two points to take the opening set.

Nadal was sharp throughout the match/Photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images
Nadal was sharp throughout the match/Photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Kyrgios needed to make a mark early in the second set and he did exactly that, changing up the gameplan by coming forward and utilizing the drop shot. The second game was again critical as the Aussie belted a backhand to break.

The next game, the Acapulco champion was behind 15-40, but rallied to hold behind daring drop shots and huge serving. After battling to hold from 30-30, the world number 44 dropped serve with some wild unforced errors.

Kyrgios was again in pole position when Nadal netted a forehand, the Aussie again daring with the drop shot. He served out the set without difficulty, a huge serve on set point forcing a weak reply by Nadal to level the match.

The third set went the way of the server. It took the returner until the fifth game to win the first point on his opponent's serve. Kyrgios saw a 40-0 lead turn into 40-30, but a forehand winner closed the game. More crisp volleys sealed another hold for 5-5.

Kyrgios played well, but failed to duplicate his result of five years ago/Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images
Kyrgios played well, but failed to duplicate his result of five years ago/Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Each man held and the tiebreaker was on. Nadal gained the early minibreak with a forehand winner for a 2-1 edge. Extending his lead to 6-3, the Spaniard saw his lead trimmed to 6-5, but another forehand winner on his third set point gave Nadal a two sets to one lead.

The fourth set was much like the third set as both players held comfortably throughout the entirety of the set, Kyrgios twice challenged at 30-30, both times coming through with forehand winners and aces on game points. Another tiebreak would decide the set.

Nadal raced out to a quick 3-0 lead after Kyrgios handed himthe minibreak with a missed smash on the first point. Again the Spaniard pulled ahead 6-3, but this time he closed out the match on his first opportunity as the Aussie netted a forehand.

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