Wimbledon: Garin Wins Epic Comeback Over De Minaur

Cristian Garin (photo: Wimbledon video)

WIMBLEDON/WASHINGTON, July 4, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

During his post-match interview on No. 2 Court after Cristian Garin gave it his all for four hours and 34 minutes to reach his first major quarterfinal at the Wimbledon Championships, he gathered his thoughts and spoke from the heart.

“I work hard every day to get better,” expressed the soft-spoken, 43rd-ranked Garin from Chile. When the interviewer, Jenny Drummond of the BBC, told him he was the first Chilean since 2009 to reach a Grand Slam last eight, it brought a big smile to his face.

“Honestly, I don’t have any words right now,” said Garin, tired but happy. “I just gave everything I have. It was a very tough fight. It was a battle. I think Alex is an incredible player, for me one of the best on grass.”

Garin, a five-time ATP Tour titlist on clay, had pulled off quite a feat to keep his grass-court hopes alive at the All England Club. He came from two sets-to-none down and saved two match points to beat No. 19 seed Alex de Minaur of Australia, 2-6, 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (6). The two competitors combined to play 365 points and of the 180 that Garin won, 46 of them came at the net. He finished with a total of 56 winners to 72 unforced errors, while de Minaur ended with 31 winners and made 50 unforced errors.

After starting slowly against de Minaur, Garin became more aggressive and never gave up – despite being outpointed 185-180 and having his serve broken eight times. The match was there for de Minaur to take and run with, but he never did. It gave Garin new hope and determination.

Upon securing match point in the match tie-break – the final set took 69 minutes alone – Garin looked relieved but no less proud of his accomplishment. He had become just the eighth Chilean man to reach a major quarterfinal – and the fourth at Wimbledon after Luis Ayala, Ricardo Acuna and Fernando Gonzalez.

“I am exhausted. I just gave my best, and I think in the fifth set it was for him or for me,” Garin explained. “We both fought a lot. … Nobody knows what [can] happen in the tie-break. I tried to be aggressive, went to the net, and tried to be aggressive with my serve as well. I think that was the key.”

Next, Garin will play against Australia’s Nick Kyrgios, who didn’t play his best against American Brandon Nakashima – but, like Garin, gutted out a five-set victory to advance to the last eight.

Kyrgios far from his best but … politely beats Nakashima

By his own definition, Nick Kyrgios didn’t play his best tennis against 20-year-old American Brandon Nakashima, despite firing 35 aces and striking 79 winners. Instead, his right shoulder was arguably his worst enemy, requiring medical attention during the fourth-round match.

However, never count the mercurial Aussie out of a match when it goes the distance. Kyrgios bested Nakashima in three hours and 11 minutes on Centre Court, winning 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-2, to improve to 6-0 lifetime at Wimbledon in five-setters.

Kyrgios pulled out all of his tricks – quick serves, under-armed serves, forehand returns through his legs – in order to keep the 56th-ranked Nakashima off balance and out of rhythm. Unlike two nights ago against World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas, there was little in the way of theatrics or acrimony. Instead, Kyrgios maintained his focus and was all businessman like in his approach, whether it was whacking 130 mile-per-hour first serves or hitting deft and delicate drop shots for winners.

Kyrgios withstood 10 aces and 37 winners from Nakashima and outpointed him 147-142.

“First I want to say, a hell of an effort by Brandon. Just 20 years old to do that,” Kyrgios said during his on-court interview. “It was anywhere near my best performance, but I fought really hard and I am super happy to get through.”

Then, the 27-year-old, 40th-ranked Kyrgios dropped his serious demeanor for a moment and quipped to the BBC‘s Lee McKenzie: “I need a glass of wine tonight, for sure. It wasn’t anything like my best performance but I fought hard.”

Halep returns to Centre Court, aces test against Badosa

Former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep of Romania dominated Spain’s No. 4 seed Paula Badosa, 6-1, 6-2, on Centre Court in only an hour to move into her fifth Championships quarterfinal.

The 2019 Wimbledon titlist and former World No. 1, seeded 16th this year, has now won her last 11 consecutive matches at the All England Club. Monday was her first time on Centre Court since winning the 2019 Venus Rosewater Dish. She saved the only break point she faced and dropped just two points on her first serve. It was her first career victory over a Top-5 opponent on grass. Earlier this year, Halep bested Badosa in the second round at Madrid in straight sets.

In the first match-up between two Top 20 seeds this fortnight, Halep broke Badosa five times and hit 17 winners to just nine unforced errors. Halep outpointed her opponent 60-33.

“I missed a lot to play Wimbledon, three years, so it’s a lot,” Halep said following the match. She wasn’t able to defend her title in 2020 because the Championships were cancelled due to COVID-19, then she missed last year’s tournament with a calf injury.

“It’s very special to be back. Yesterday I was on the court [for Centre Court’s centenary celebrations] with all the champions and it was amazing.

“Actually I was more nervous yesterday than today. It’s always a pleasure to come back and to have the chance to play on Centre Court. It’s a beautiful court and always I try to give my best.”

While Badosa was attempting to become the first Spanish woman since Garbiñe Muguruza in 2017 to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals, she admitted it was a “day to forget” on court.

“I think everything went wrong. She played a good match,” Badosa said. “But I want to talk about me. I think it wasn’t my day today.”

Next, Halep will face American 20th seed Amanda Anisimova, who eliminated 115th-ranked Harmony Tan of France, 6-2, 6-3, in 74 minutes to reach her first Wimbledon quarterfinal. Tan, who had upset 23-time major champion Serena Williams a week ago in the first round, was no match for the 20-year-old Anisimova, who owns a pair of wins over Naomi Osaka, at this year’s Australian Open and the French Open, and was a Roland-Garros semifinalist as a teenager in 2019.

The World No. 25 Anisimova, who won 80 percent (28 of 35) of her first-serve points, hit 28 winners and outpointed Tan 72-53.

“It is amazing to be in a quarterfinal here. It is a dream come true right now,” Anisimova said after her win. “It is my first quarterfinal at Wimbledon. I am just so happy. I [am] just trying to soak in the moments. I [have] stepped on to these courts and I just wanted to entertain you guys.”

Fritz wins one for Americans on Fourth of July

World No. 14 Taylor Fritz, the last of six seeded American men remaining as the second week of Wimbledon began, is through to his first major quarterfinal. The No. 11 seed kept this nation’s hopes alive with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 victory over 99th-ranked Australian qualifier Jason Kubler in two hours on No. 1 Court.

It was Fritz’s eighth straight grass triumph, which began with a title run at Eastbourne, and advanced him to a Wednesday quarterfinal showdown with No. 2 seed and two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal of Spain, who edged No. 21 seed Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands, 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (6), in two hours and 21 minutes.

“I felt like I was serving well,” Fritz said in his on-court interview. He hit 16 aces and recorded 40 winners. “It could have gone a lot differently if this first two games were a little different.

“Second set, I played really well and then third set I feel like he slowed it down a little bit and backed up a bit in the court, making it a little bit tougher for me to put the ball away.

“We started having some rally long rallies and got really tight. Just really happy to get through in the end.”

By the end of the match, which was decided on the fourth match point of the contest, Fritz had outpointed Kubler 97-68 to reach his first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

“Part of the final eight and I’m glad I could get the win on the Fourth of July, being an American,” Fritz said. “It’s great being in my first quarterfinal. It’s just showing that all the hard work I’m putting in is paying off.”

Around the All England Club

• Two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal of Spain has won seven straight sets to reach his 47th major quarterfinal. On Monday evening, Nadal wrapped up a straight-set 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (6) victory over No. 21 seed Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands on his fourth match point. It kept Nadal’s hope of winning a calendar-year Grand Slam alive. He’s already won the Australian Open and French Open crowns this season.

Monday’s featured match on Centre Court ended just in time while there was enough daylight to prevent the roof from having to be closed, which would have been a certainty if the Dutchman had pulled out the third-set tie-break. Nadal finished with 29 winners to 17 unforced errors and outpointed van de Zandschulp 103-85.

Now, Nadal is into his third straight Wimbledon quarterfinals and eighth overall at The Championships, where he will face No. 11 seed Taylor Fritz on Wednesday.

“I continued in a positive way,” Nadal commented in his on-court interview. “I think, until the end that I played a bad game at 5-3, [it] had been a very positive match against a difficult opponent. Botic has been improving unbelievably in the last year, so huge congratulations to him this amazing improvement.

“In a personal way, after all the things that happened the last couple of months, to be able to be in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon after three years without playing here [since 2019], it’s amazing for me, so [I’m] very, very happy.”

• No. 17 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan reached her first Wimbledon quarterfinal in just her second main draw at the All England Club. She defeated No. 80 Petra Martic of Croatia, who was making her third round of 16 appearance at Wimbledon, 7-5, 6-3, in an hour and 20 minutes on No. 1 Court. The World No. 23 Rybakina won by using both her power and versatility.

The victory, in back of 26 winners and four breaks of serve, advanced the 23-year-old Rybakina into her second career major quarterfinal after achieving the feat at the 2021 French Open. She becomes the second Kazakh to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals following Yaroslava Shvedova in 2016.

During her press conference, Rybakina was asked about her game style. “I never compared myself with anyone,” she said. “I just know that I have this gift. I’m tall (6-feet 184 cm) and I play really fast. It’s effortless, I would say. It’s not something I’m working in the gym or something. This is my weapon, and I’m just trying to use it as much as I can.”

Next, Rybakina will face No. 44 Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia, who defeated No. 37 Alizé Cornet of France, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, in two hours and 35 minutes on No. 2 Court. Two days earlier, Cornet ended the 37-match winning streak of World No. 1 and top seed Iga Swiatek of Poland. Now, Tomljanovic is through to the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the second straight year. She’s the first Australian woman to achieve the feat since Jelena Dokic in 1999-2000.

Tomljanovic, 29, a Croatian-born Australian, who lives and trains in Florida, inherited the position of being Australia’s top-ranked woman after former World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty retired earlier this year. The Brisbane resident is 17-15 this season following her win over Cornet and Wimbledon is the fourth quarterfinal she’s reached in 2022 following Instanbul, Rabat and Nottingham.

Monday’s Wimbledon results

Tuesday’s Wimbledon order of play

By the numbers

For the second straight day, a men’s five-set match eclipsed the four-hour mark. On Sunday, David Goffin and Frances Tiafoe took 4:36 to decide the outcome of their fourth-round singles match. On Monday, Cristian Garin needed a fifth-set match tie-break to beat No. 19 seed Alex de Minaur, which lasted four hours, 35 minutes. Both matches were played on No. 2 Court.

“Quotable …”

• “The atmosphere on that court was amazing. You have players that it’s always nice to play against – not because of the game or something like this but just because there’s always a nice atmosphere on the court with the opponent and also the crowd likes it. That was the case today with Frances. We gave everything on the court. … So, yeah, it’s a great memory on that court.”

– No. 58 David Goffin of Belgium, after he upset No. 23 seed Frances Tiafoe in five sets, coming from two sets-to-one down to win in four hours and 36 minutes on No. 2 Court.

“It’s so special. I’ve been working hard all my life to be in this position. It is a dream for me. I always said that it is my favorite tournament, I love to be here in London. It’s amazing. It is a dream for me to be in the quarterfinals. I work hard every day to be in those occasions. I will go for it. Try to rest and give my best in the next round.”

– No. 43 Cristian Garin of Chile, after beating No. 19 seed Alex de Minaur in five sets on No. 2 Court Monday afternoon to advance to the quarterfinals.