Wimbledon quarter-finals are different from normal
Who benefited from gutting but resisted porridge?
Wait, is that Nick Kyrgios? This is apparently the case. The chaotic Aussie has long been one of the occasional examples of noise-on-merit, a classic case of the lure of bustle, fireworks – dazzling, then sparkling. He’d gone seven years and 22 majors without seeing a quarter-final, and he seemed as craving a victim as he wanted to win.
Well, here he is, following his Center Court Monday slog with another Wimbledon flatterer, Brandon Nakashima, the San Diegan and former junior sensation and burly big boy who stopped by the University of Virginia for a cup of espresso and who looked more 30 than his 20 against Kyrgios.
Chosen words and bizarre antics mark wacky men’s night out at Wimbledon
Kyrgios won the battle of skillful serves and staccato points, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 6-2, but Nakashima ended up saying: “This tournament is not is just another step for my game, for my confidence there,” and Kyrgios ended up saying, “I just felt so many areas of his game were impressive to me.
Yet Kyrgios won, and he won after playing quietly unlike Stefanos Tsitsipas in Saturday night’s tournament speech, almost as if he wore a purple and green muzzle even though he broke Wimbledon rules with his red cap. He won with occasional sneaky serves and shots between the legs, and partly by using a “rope-a-dope” (his term) at the end of the fourth set, throwing a service game to spoil Nakashima’s pace. .
“It worked,” Kyrgios said, but he also noticed something about himself at 27.
“It was probably the first time in my career where I wasn’t playing well. [for a spell of a match]regardless of playing Center Court Wimbledon, a packed crowd, I could just say [to myself], ‘Wow, look how far I’ve come,’” he said. “I was bouncing the ball before I served. I really just smiled to myself. I was like, ‘We’re here; we are competing at Wimbledon, performing well mentally. He said: “It was a very good mental performance today. I think I’m enjoying the battle a bit more.
And he said, “Listen, there was a time when I had to be forced out of a pub at 4 a.m. to play [Rafael] Nadal second round. …I’ve come a long way – that’s for sure.
And: “I just think about my habits every day.”
People have long wondered what could happen if that happened, given his monumental serve, searing groundstrokes, upset of Nadal long ago in 2014 here.
So of course, those quarter-finals have three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic; Nadal; Simona Halep, so masterful in the 2019 final against Serena Williams; Ons Jabeur, the multi-faceted Tunisian who has risen to the rank of world No. 2. But who is it ?
That’s Cristian Garin, ranked No. 43, and what a great sporting year for Chile, given Mito Pereira’s claim to the PGA Championship in Tulsa in May. Garin looked up a two-set, two-match-point deficit before overtaking Australia’s Alex de Minaur, 10-6, in the fifth-set super tiebreaker, just a week away and changing after watching his opening draw and felt “upset”, as he put it.
There, on the next support line, stood Matteo Berrettini, the Italian who made the 2021 final and made it clear to Djokovic that he had to win it.
“Obviously Matteo and Novak were the favorites for me in this tournament,” Garin said. Yet hours before that match, Berrettini pulled out with covid, and six days later Garin said: “Yeah, I was upset, but I’m here. I’m still playing.
“It was Berrettini’s small section,” said Kyrgios, who would have played Berrettini in a rising occasion. “When you see Berrettini not there it’s a sigh of relief for all the players in the draw – obviously a Wimbledon runner-up. I think probably probably [one of the] the three best grass players in the world, Berrettini, of course.
Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff fall on tough day for top women at Wimbledon
And, wait, aren’t these Americans called Williams or whatever? Those are. It was 20-year-old Amanda Anisimova, who so impressed the last two rounds beating Coco Gauff and then surging, 6-2, 6-3, past Harmony Tan, who had knocked out Serena Williams. And that’s 24-year-old Taylor Fritz, another of many San Diegans around the world, the one whose mother, Kathy May, once opened her career at Wimbledon in 1974 against Billie Jean King and lost, 6-1, 6 -1.
(Well, so can you. She played 16 more Grand Slams after that and reached three quarter-finals.)
Fritz reached No. 14 while looking for breakthroughs like so many others, and he arrived at Eastbourne, a tune-up for Wimbledon, with a fine three-game losing streak: second round at Roland Garros against Bernabe Zapata miracles; first round (grass) in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, against Tim van Rijthoven; first round at the Queen’s Club in London against Jack Draper.
So of course Fritz won Eastbourne and won all 12 sets here.
“It’s so interesting,” he said. “Because three weeks ago it was a low point for me. I kept telling myself that I would get my tennis back. I just had to keep being positive. I was injured, I was coming back from an injury, I wasn’t playing very well.
So now, “That’s a big leap. It’s so interesting. It’s a bit like tennis. One, two good weeks, five or six good games in a row, can kind of change everything.
Now, four months after beating Nadal to win the annual Grand Rally in Indian Wells, Calif., then drew question marks on the TV camera lens because he found himself stunned by what he had to say, this is his first major quarter-final in his 24th major. try. “Things like that,” he said, “I kind of worked my whole life.”
After “a hell of a battle” at Wimbledon, Frances Tiafoe is waiting for the next step
Further into the quarter-finals coming up on Tuesday and Wednesday, there are some well-known talents trying to make their mark: Cameron Norrie, 12th in the standings, the Briton born in South Africa and brought up in New Zealand with Welsh parents and Scottish; The Italian Jannik Sinner, 13th, who has already reached the fourth round of the four Grand Slams at 20 years old. His match with Djokovic is something.
And if you look there in the women’s quarter-finals, among those excellent players known only to geeks – Ajla Tomljanovic, Marie Bouzkova, Tatjana Maria and Jule Niemeier – there is Elena Rybakina. She’s 23 and ranks, she reached the quarter-finals of Roland-Garros 2021, and she hasn’t dropped a set here, but in June 2018 she made what became a pivotal decision for Wimbledon 2022, as she ranked 191st.
A player born and raised in Moscow, long before Russia’s global invasion of Ukraine, she accepted an offer of citizenship from Kazakhstan.