London, July 4 (IANS) Nick Kyrgios of Australia made it to the quarterfinals for the first time in eight years at Wimbledon, beating American Brandon Nakashima in a thrilling five-setter here on Monday.
The unseeded Australian, who needed medical attention on Centre Court for his shoulder, and who dropped the opening set, won 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-2 to advance to a match against Chile’s Cristian Garin.
The 27-year-old, who upset World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round, recovered from a slow start and a right shoulder problem to strike his groundstrokes more freely as the match went on. The World No. 40 hammered 78 winners and broke the 20-year-old Nakashima’s serve three times to improve to 11-2 on the grass in 2022.
“First I want to say, a hell of an effort by Brandon. Just 20 years old to do that. It was anywhere near my best performance, but I fought really hard and I am super happy to get through,” Kyrgios said in his on-court interview.
The last time Kyrgios made the last eight on the Wimbledon grass was in 2014, the year he defeated Rafael Nadal.
The last time Kyrgios reached the last eight at a major came at the Australian Open in 2015. The six-time tour-level champion, who had regular physio treatments on his shoulder, will next play Chilean Cristian Garin as he looks to break new ground and reach his first Grand Slam singles semifinal.
“I have played a lot of tennis in the past month and a half. I am proud of the way I steadied the ship after he came out firing in the fourth set,” Kyrgios was quoted as saying by the ATP website.
“My five-set record is pretty good. That is what I was thinking about. I have played a lot of five-set matches here. That is what I was thinking about. I have been here before and I have done it again.
“Brandon hasn’t played on this court. All those experiences that I have had on this court got me over the line.”
Kyrgios is making his eighth Wimbledon appearance and he arrived in London in strong form, having reached consecutive grass-court semi-finals in Stuttgart and Halle last month.
Nakashima was competing in the fourth round at a major for the first time, having defeated Nicola Kuhn, Denis Shapovalov and Daniel Elahi Galan on the lawns in London. World No. 56 was one of four Americans to reach the last 16, which was the most at Wimbledon since 1999.