Australian maverick Nick Kyrgios knocked out fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a wild and wonderful Wimbledon third-round slugfest that threatened to spiral out of control on Saturday.

The 27-year-old Kyrgios produced sublime tennis to earn a 6-7(2) 6-4 6-3 7-6(7) victory but the match will be remembered chiefly as one of the most bad-tempered seen at Wimbledon for decades.

The eagerly-awaited Court One clash was the hottest ticket in town, even with Rafa Nadal playing over on Centre Court.

It did not disappoint either, with scintillating tennis accompanied by mayhem as both players lost their heads.

With the lights on and a deafening atmosphere, it was the unseeded Kyrgios who emerged from the chaos with one of his finest Grand Slam victories, edging a nerve-jangling fourth-set tiebreak after saving a set point.

Kyrgios claimed victory with a drop shot and he will enter the last 16 for the fourth time with serious title aspirations.

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Next up is unseeded American Brandon Nakashima.

For most of a high-octane first set, it was the quality of tennis from both players that held sway.

Kyrgios was his usual chuntering self but lost his temper with umpire Damien Dumusois after an overruled line call at 5-5 in the first set.

Tsitsipas remained focused on the job to win the tiebreak and had a massive chance to seize control at 4-4 in the second set when Kyrgios let slip a 40-0 lead with two terrible drop shots but saved a break point with a second-serve ace.

The fireworks began when Tsitsipas served to stay in the set at 4-5.

First Kyrgios was warned for an audible obscenity after being reported by a line judge but responded to break the Tsitsipas serve after the Greek failed to put away a smash.

In his frustration, Tsitsipas whacked a ball that narrowly missed the head of a fan to earn a warning.

Kyrgios ranted that Tsitsipas should have been defaulted, called the umpire "a disgrace" and called for a supervisor.

After returning from a toilet break Tsitsipas was booed as he became the unwitting villain in the Kyrgios pantomime.

Struggling to keep his composure, Tsitsipas dropped serve early in the third set, then received a point penalty for launching a wild return off a Kyrgios underarm serve -- the ball cannoning into the scoreboard.

With his blood boiling, Tsitsipas drilled a close-range smash straight at Kyrgios in the next game, missing him and the court as the atmosphere turned toxic.

Roared on by the crowd, Kyrgios served sensationally and wrapped up the third set with a sublime reflex volley.

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Kyrgios, who was fined for spitting towards a fan after his first round win over Paul Jubb, had three break points in the first game of the fourth but, as if there was not enough drama, slipped awkwardly and clutched his hip in pain.

Tsitsipas wriggled out of trouble and with Kyrgios showing no ill effects the temperature lowered slightly.

Kyrgios curled an audacious forehand to earn break points at 3-3 but Tsistipas held firm and roared in defiance.

With gloom descending Tsitsipas had 0-40 in the next game but Kyrgios served his way out of trouble to level before a short break for the roof to be closed and lights switched on -- allowing the crowd a welcome chance to draw breath.

On the resumption, Kyrgios saved a set point with a searing backhand winner and another in the tiebreak with an audacious half-volley drop shot.

Another drop shot got the job done on his second match point after which the players exchanged a brief handshake.