Rafael Nadal may not end up winning a third Wimbledon singles title but he will take joy from having beaten his ‘bete noire’ Nick Kyrgios in an engrossing but bad-tempered grudge match on Thursday.
The 33-year-old Spaniard came through in four sets 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/3) which saw fiery but talented Australian Kyrgios receive a warning for unsportsmanlike behaviour after a running argument with the umpire while twice serving under-arm.
Kyrgios had famously defeated Nadal as a 144th-ranked teenage wildcard at Wimbledon in 2014.
They have been at opposite ends of the tennis spectrum ever since with the Australian describing the 18-time major winner as his “polar opposite”.
Nadal’s pleasure was evident when he sealed the match against a man he had accused of lacking respect for the sport as he fist-pumped and jumped in the air yelling to his camp seated on Centre Court.
Kyrgios twice served underarm on game point, was handed a code violation for unsportsmanlike behaviour and waged a bitter war of words with umpire Damien Dumusois.
Increasingly upset with what he perceived to be Nadal’s pedestrian pace of play, the 24-year-old described the official as a “disgrace” and said his handling of the explosive tie was “pathetic”.
It was Nadal’s 50th win at the tournament as he continues his push for a third Wimbledon title and 19th major.
The match was billed as a classic even before it began and it lived up to the hype through four sets. Here’s the best of tennis Twitter’s reaction to the match.
With AFP Inputs