Nadal Notches 50th Wimbledon Match Win

LONDON, July 4, 2019

Two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal faced a tough challenge when he met Nick Kyrgios in Thursday’s second-round match on Centre Court. In the pair’s first meeting at SW19 in 2014, a 19-year-old Kyrgios stunned then-World No. 1 Nadal in four sets to reach his first Wimbledon quarterfinal. This time it was the Spaniard, who had the better ending.

In a highly-entertaining encounter, Nadal withstood 29 aces, breaking the Aussie’s serve two times to secure a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(3) victory in three hours and four minutes. It was Nadal 50th match win at Wimbledon.

“He was a tough opponent,” Nadal told BBC Two. “When he wants to compete, he’s one of the toughest opponents you can face.

“It was an important victory for me, sometimes it’s tough to see a couple of things on court. It’s amazing how good he is able to play, so if he is able to forget all these things, he’s potentially a Grand Slam winner.”

Next up for Nadal, who did not contest a Tour-level grass-court event prior to coming to London, will be Jo-Wilfried Tsonga from France.

Kyrgios played a very good part in that entertaining encounter, the type of tennis that is fitting of his talent and the type of tennis that inspires people everywhere.

I thought I started a little slow, but I he played really well today,” Kyrgios said. “I knew his game plan, I got onto it pretty quickly. He directed most of his serves to my forehand. He hasn’t really done that in the past. It’s definitely my weaker return. He was definitely trying to stay away from my backhand return a lot.

“But I thought just on big points, I mean, he played well. Hit his forehand extremely well. When Rafa plays well, he hits his forehand line extremely well. I thought today he was on fire with that shot. Every time he redirected, he was hitting balls just within the line, so…

“It was a high-level match. Two tiebreaks. I played a couple loose points here or there. That’s all it takes against a player like that. He was just too good today.”

Federer advances

Roger Federer is through to the third round with a minimum of fuss. Despite being pitted against a home favourite, the Swiss maestro still received considerable support from the Court 1 crowd as he defeated Jay Clarke 6-1, 7-6(3), 6-2 in one hour and 36 minutes.

“I thought the crowd were great, they were really hoping for Jay to get into the match and he did that in the second set,” said Federer, as quoted by the BBC.

“I struggled to take care of business a bit from the baseline. Thankfully I played a pretty good breaker, I had some help from him as he gave me a couple of unforced errors.

“I really enjoyed myself. The tank is full – I came here with a lot of confidence – the first few matches haven’t been very taxing physically.

“You try to win your matches regardless of the score, if you win them in straight sets that’s better.”

Seeds upset on the outside courts

On Court 12, Joao Sousa knocked out No. 13. seed Marin Cilic, winning 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. It marked the first win for the 30-year-old Portuguese in the pair’s fifth meeting.

On Court 3, Mikhail Kukushkin recorded his 150th Tour-level match-win. The 31-year-old from Kazakhstan outlasted No. 9 seeded US-American John Isner 6-4, 6-7(3), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in three hours and four minutes to reach the third round at Wimbledon for the second time. Isner has played his first tournament since a stress fracture in Miami.

“It’s very disappointing to lose,” said Isner. “I think my lack of preparation certainly showed today. I knew something like that was very possible. Unfortunately, that was the case today. The most important thing is my foot’s fine. My fitness [is] definitely not there. There’s no doubt. I was just able to put weight on my foot about 10 days before the tournament, so this is the first time I was able to put all my weight on my foot. It had been a long time on the shelf.”

Next up for Kukushkin will big-serving German Jan-Lenanrd Struff, who struck 66 winners past last week’s Nature Valley International champion Taylor Fritz of the United States 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(2) in two hours and 15 minutes.

Moreover, in-form Briton Daniel Evans, who clinched two ATP Challenger grass-court titles ahead of this fortnight, defeated No. 18 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(2). US-American Steve Johnson battled past 25th seeded Aussie Alex de Minaur 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, and John Millman from Australia beat No. 31 seed Laslo Djere of Serbia 6-3, 6-2, 6-1.

Around the All England Club

Bernard Tomic of Australia has been fined almost his full Wimbledon prize money of £45,000 for not meeting the “required professional standard” during his 58-minute first-round defeat by Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Tomic lost 6-2 6-1 6-4 in the shortest men’s match at The Championships since 2004.

Former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus will hang up his racket following his second round defeat to Matteo Berrettini of Italy. The 34-year-old clinched four ATP Tour career titles and reached a career high World No. 8 in August 2006.