The Nadal forehand is a thing of destructive beauty when it works and a wide, into-the-corner serve forces Kyrgios off balance, opening up the court to Nadal for a pin-point winner up the line. Nadal holds serve.
Kyrgios’ serves are absolute rockets. But when Nadal is able to return, they are returned with interest. Nevertheless, game Kyrgios.
A chance to build pressure on the Nadal serve after going 0-15 up but Kyrgios then produces an unforced error and jumps into the air in frustration. He knows that was an great opportunity. Nadal retains his composure to seal the game when Kyrgios finds the tramlines.
Inbetween serves Kyrgios is ranting at the umpire. It’ll be interesting to see how much more the umpire takes before he issues a code violation because it is sustained.
Kyrgios races into a 40-0 lead so his head does seem to be still in the game, and he levels things up when Nadal returns long.
Kyrgios is ranting at the umpire again, he’s not happy that Nadal’s second serve was called in by HawkEye and the point was not replayed, instead given to Nadal. He feels that the out call influenced his shot and that the point should be replayed.
Now a frustrated Kyrgios is walking away from serves and gifting points to Nadal, who goes 40-0 up. And a long return gives the game to the Spaniard.
Superb rally from these two players as a drop-shot from Kyrgios forces Nadal to race in to the net. The Spaniard gets to the resulting lob but then hits the ball straight into the net. Such a shame. Great effort. More aces and game Kyrgios.
Nadal to serve first in the third set. An ace into the forehand corner earns him 40-0. And ace into the backhand corner earns him the game.
In double-quick time, three set points to Kyrgios. Nadal pulls a point back with a fine return that the Aussie tries to hit back behind his back. Nevertheless, a long return of serve draw things level at one set all.
First conduct warning to Kyrgios. He was ranting to the umpire inbetween games that Nadal wasn’t ready to face his serves. He needs to keep his head.
Absolute nonchalance from Kyrgios with an angled volley that has the crowd roaring its approval and he has them on their feet with a 101mph forehand winner down the line that hits the chalk and gives him a 15-30 lead.
More ranting from Kyrgios, this time at himself, as Nadal draws it back to 30-30, but the Aussie earns himself a break point with a volley at the net. And he break back with a deep shot to the baseline that Nadal can only return into the net.
The onus falls on Kyrgios now to maintain that break of serve, but he makes a poor start with two awful drop-shots, the first which Nadal reaches and puts away and the second which dies into the net. Nadal claims three break points with a lob that Kyrgios can only hit wide… and he breaks to draw the set back on serve.
Nadal serves, trying to contain the threatre that is happening on the other side of the net. Unforced errors from Kyrgios gift the Spaniard a 40-0 lead and the game is eventually sealed with a whipped forehand winner.
The speed at which Kyrgios serves, not only his delivery but also inbetween, is ever-so-slightly unsettling his opponent – and he gets the crowd off its feet with a thumping winner.
Nadal knows, though, that Kyrgios likes the low-percentage winner – the glory shot – and is simply returning the ball and waiting for his opponent to make a mistake.
Another underarm serve and Nadal puts the ball into the net and that’s game Kyrgios. Parts of the crowd start to whistle. Nadal should really have put that away, though.
Nadal 6-3, 1-3 Kyrgios* (*denotes next server)
Nadal will be spitting after not taking advantage of those two potential breaks of serve in the previous game. His first serve enables him to take a 30-0 lead and a delicate drop-shot boosts the score to 40-0 – a lovely backspin slice. Kyrgios hits back but then finds the net and hands the game to the Spaniard.
Nadal* 6-3, 0-3 Kyrgios (*denotes next server)
A sign of true class as Nadal immediately opens up two break points on the Kyrgios serve. The first is saved with the most delicate of dabs over the net with Nadal back behind the baseline. And the second is saved too! Another Kyrgios drop-shot looks like it has been hit too long, and it has, but he anticipates Nadal’s return and volleys an angled winner. The Australian than wraps the game up with aces.
Nadal 6-3, 0-2 Kyrgios* (*denotes next server)
A pumped up Krygios shouts “C’monnnnn” after he makes early inroads into the Nadal serve, taking a 0-30 lead. The first signs of pressure on the Spaniard. Nadal then puts a first serve into the net and his second is loopy, but Kyrgios can’t take advantage and plops the ball into the tape. He looks to the sky, knowing he missed a big chance there.
Nevertheless, he establishes two break points with a forehand winner down the line that Nadal can only get the frame of his racket to… and he breaks serve with a pulsating forehand winner. What a rally!!
Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Kyrgios (*denotes next server)
It will be interesting to see how far back Nadal stands to Kyrgios’ second serves. He will not want to encourage any more underarm serves.
Kyrgios races into a 40-0 lead, Nadal pulls a point back with a flick-of-the-wrist forehand winner down the line, but the Aussie takes the first game of the second set with an ace.
Kyrgios is ranting to the umpire…
… he is not happy that Nadal has popped off for a loo break. There are so many mind game happening right now.
Nadal 6-3 Kyrgios* (*denotes next server) – FIRST SET NADAL
Nadal is not happy with Kyrgios, he turned his back on his opponent, not wishing to engage after the underarm serve in the previous game. He needs to win this game now, and the set, to settle his mind. Kyrgios, on the other hand, looks fired up.
An aggressive serve into Kyrgios’ body jams him up and enables Nadal to put away an easy winner to go 40-30 up. And a chip and volley wraps up the set.
Nadal* 5-3 Kyrgios (*denotes next server)
New balls as Kyrgios serves and… BOOM… a second-serve ace. The Aussie races to 40-0 with another scorching serve that Nadal can only return into the net. And he finishes things off with an underarm serve! An UNDERARM serve!!!
Nadal 5-2 Kyrgios* (*denotes next server)
So far Kyrgios is unable to make any inroads into the Nadal first serve. All he can hope is to get the ball back over the net but it’s allowing his opponent an easy winner. Nadal holds to love.
Nadal* 4-2 Kyrgios (*denotes next server)
During a break in play, Kyrgios complains to the umpire that Nadal never seems to be ready when he is ready to serve. He may have a point. And it seems to have fired the Aussie up as he races into the lead with some rocket serves and takes the game in double-quick time.
Nadal 4-1 Kyrgios* (*denotes next server)
Nadal has such sublime control of his serve. He sends it down the middle, forcing Kyrgios to lunge to his left and that opens up the court for a winning forehand. The Spaniard wins the game with a backhand return behind the rushing Aussie, again highlighting how good he is at manipulating play.
Nadal* 3-1 Kyrgios (*denotes next server)
Kyrgios needs to make the most of his first serve because when he gets it in, Nadal is put under pressure. A booming ace puts him 30-15 ahead and an uncharacteristic wide return by Nadal makes it 40-15. Make that game Kyrgios with an ace!
Nadal 3-0 Kyrgios* (*denotes next server)
Nadal races to 30-0, his first serve proving uncomfortable for Kyrgios. However, his second serve is a much less frightening proposition and Kyrgios is quick to pounce to pick up a point. A point, though, is all he gets as Nadal races into a 3-0 lead, winning the game with a powerful cross-court forehand that Kyrgios can only return into the net.
Nadal* 2-0 Kyrgios (*denotes next server)
Mini mind games at the start of the second game as Nadal holds up play while he gives his face a towelling.
First roars from the crowd as Nadal fires consecutive winners past the outstretched racket of Kyrgios. A signal of intent if ever there was one.
Kyrgios earns his first point of the match with an ace, but he swiftly falls 15-40 behind. A delicate drop-shot – too good for even the alert Nadal – closes the score to 30-40, but Nadal breaks serve with the next point, a lob forcing Kyrgios to run back and hit between his legs, allowing Nadal to volley into an open court.
Nadal 1-0 Kyrgios* (*denotes next server)
Kyrgios won the toss and invited Nadal to serve first.. and first point goes to the Spaniard as his Aussie opponent returns low into the net. Nadal goes to 30-0 as Kyrgios then hits long on the return of serve. So far so easy.
Forty-love to Nadal as Kyrgios returns another serve into the net… and game Nadal as the Australian finds the net again, this time after a mini rally.
Federer through after beating Brit
Roger Federer is in the same half of the draw as Nadal and Kyrgios and the Swiss has just beaten Great Britain’s Jay Clarke 6-1, 7-6 (3), 6-2.
‘Peppered with punkish excesses for which he is notorious’
While we wait for the players to emerge, why not take a few minutes to read Oliver Brown’s piece on this enthralling clash of personalities:
In every sense, the pair form the most vivid contrast. Where Nadal agonises over every detail of his preparation, from the alignment of his headband to the triangulation of his water bottles, Kyrgios slopes on to court with the distracted air of a man who, by his own admission, has sometimes been up all night playing computer games.
The Big Show up next
British No 1 Johanna Konta has beaten Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 6-4 in her second-round match which means Nadal vs Kyrgios is next on Centre. Not long now…
Kyrgios spotted in Dog and Fox
Speaking of the aforementioned Dog and Fox pub, none other than one Mr Nick Kyrgios was in there last night letting his hair down ahead of today’s match against Nadal.
Portuguese journalist and commentator Miguel Seabra was on the scene:
I just had a toast with Nick Kyrgios at the Dog & Fox. He is completely relaxed, laughing with friends, chatting with girls, drinking. “I love the @estorilopen”, he told me. Quite an unorthodox preparation for tomorrow’s blockbuster, uh? I like it. �� #wimbledon#tennis
— Miguel Seabra (@MiguelSeabra) July 3, 2019
Rafael Nadal vs Nick Kyrgios: match preview
By Jonathan Veal, PA
Nick Kyrgios may not want to go for a pint with “super salty” Rafael Nadal, but he cannot wait for their Wimbledon showdown today which comes in the midst of a fascinating feud between the two.
The Australian set up a blockbusting second-round clash with the 18-time grand-slam champion after beating compatriot Jordan Thompson in five sets on Tuesday.
There are a wealth of sub-plots to the match, mainly down to the war of words that have broken out between the outspoken Kyrgios and Nadal’s camp in recent months which has had as many back and forths as the crowd are likely to see in one of their rallies.
It originated in Acapulco in February where Kyrgios beat Nadal on his way to the title, bringing out an underarm serve in the three-set win, which caused the Spaniard to accuse his opponent of lacking “respect for the public, the rival and towards himself”.
Nadal’s uncle Toni then heavily criticised Kyrgios after he threw a chair on to the court and then defaulted, suggesting he “lacked education”.
Kyrgios, who was practicing alongside his opponent at Aorangi Park on Wednesday, did not let that slide, and went to town on a podcast in May, branding Nadal “super salty” and Toni an “idiot”.
All of that left everyone rubbing their hands with excitement when the draw was made last week and that is before Kyrgios’ win at SW19 in 2014, when he stunned Nadal in the fourth round as a 19 year-old, is taken into account.
Kyrgios was asked about the current state of his relationship with the 33 year-old and he responded by saying that they were unlikely to go for a drink in the Dog and Fox, a well-known drinking establishment in Wimbledon village, but that he was relishing meeting Nadal on court.
“I can’t wait,” he said. “As soon as the draw came out, I was super happy that I saw him in my section.
“I mean, it’s more exciting. When you’re a kid, you want to play the best players in the world on I think is the best court in the world.
“This is something that I can’t take for granted. There’s no guarantee I’m going to be here again in this position.
“I could have an injury or something like that.”
On his famous win over Nadal in 2014, the 24 year-old added: “I mean, I’ve looked back on that moment.
“That’s never going to leave my tennis career. It was one of the most special moments I’ve ever had.”
It is a match that Nadal will not have wanted so early in the tournament, considering it will be only his second outing on grass this summer and that Kyrgios has won three of their six previous meetings.
Nadal knows he will have to be at his very best to get through and added a sly dig at his opponent’s motivation levels for good measure.
“I play against a top talent player, very dangerous player when he wants to play tennis,” he said.
“Normally against the best players, he wants to play tennis. When that happens, he’s a very dangerous opponent.
“Of course, like second round is a super tough one. I know that. I need to be at my 100 per cent. I am going to fight for it.”