Wimbledon 2022: Kyrgios, Garin survive five-set thrillers, Fritz dominates to reach quarterfinals
While Nick Kyrgios and Cristian Garin had to fight hard, Taylor Fritz blitzed through his fourth round match.
An angelic Nick Kyrgios reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final for seven years when he recovered from a slow start to beat steady American Brandon Nakashima in five sets on Wimbledon's Centre Court on Monday.
With Kyrgios's bad-tempered Court One victory over fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas still the talk of the town, the Australian was on his best behaviour in front of the Royal Box as he ground out a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-2 win.
Unseeded Chilean Cristian Garin awaits in the last eight after edging out Kyrgios's compatriot Alex De Minaur, offering Kyrgios a golden opportunity to surpass his quarter-final run at Wimbledon on his debut in 2014 when he stunned Rafael Nadal.
After the mayhem and toxic atmosphere of Saturday, when Kyrgios was accused by Tsitsipas of being a bully, he let his tennis do the talking against the 20-year-old Nakashima, barely uttering a word in anger throughout a contest that contained few of the fireworks usually associated with the Australian.
While his tennis did not reach the heights he managed against Tsitsipas and at times he struggled physically, Kyrgios still struck 61 winners, 31 of which were aces.
"It wasn't near my best performance, level wise, but I'm just super, super happy to get through," Kyrgios, who has now won 11 of 14 five-set matches, said on court.
"I've never lost a fifth set here. Honestly, that's what I was thinking about. I was like, I've been here before I've done it before and I came through again."
Asked about facing Garin, he said: "I'm not going to think about that. I'm going to need a glass of wine tonight for sure."
Kyrgios entertained the capacity crowd with some tweeners in the warm-up and even practised some under-arm serves.
But they were few and far between in a three hour 10 minute match that was absorbing rather than exciting.
If anything the world number 40 looked subdued in the opening set and appeared to be bothered by a stiff shoulder.
Two lazy forehand errors at 4-5 gifted Nakashima the opening set as Kyrgios, whose last Grand Slam quarter-final saw him lose to Andy Murray at the 2015 Australian Open, looked in danger of an anti-climactic exit.
But he broke serve for 2-1 in the second set and, after having treatment on his shoulder at the changeover, gradually cranked up the power gauge to level the match.
Nakashima's focus was total though as the American kept his nose in front in the third set and his no-nonsense approach brought him to within two points of taking the set when Kyrgios again served at 4-5.
This time Kyrgios blasted his way out of trouble and, after another love service hold to get into a tiebreak, he turned on the style, hitting two scorching winners, one on each wing, to move within one set of victory.
Nothing is ever quite what it seems though with Kyrgios on court and just when he looked in control he suddenly went off the boil and dropped serve twice in succession as Nakashima took it into a decider.
At that stage, with Kyrgios finally starting to chunter to his box, Nakashima looked a good bet to become the youngest American man to reach the last eight here since Andy Roddick, also 20, managed it in 2003.
Kyrgios held from 0-30 to make it 1-1 and then flicked the switch, breaking twice as he raced away towards victory, sealing it with a silky volley.
Garin wins epic battle against De Minaur
Chile's Cristian Garin showed amazing tenacity to come from two sets and 3-0 down and save two match points as he beat Australian Alex de Minaur in a hugely entertaining five-set slug fest to reach his first grand slam quarter-final
Garin eventually triumphed 2-6, 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-6(6) after four hours 34 minutes of superb tennis that brought a standing ovation from Wimbledon's packed Number Two Court.
The two men hammered at each other from start to finish with a crowd-pleasing sprinkling of classy drop shots and volleys in among the relentlessly accurate groundstrokes and lung-busting chases to reach them.
De Minaur, a supreme athlete who does not know the meaning of a lost cause, took the first two sets and led 3-0 in the third but Garin hit back, saved two match points at 4-5 in the fifth and then won the new "first to 10" final-set tiebreak to set up a last-eight meeting with Nick Kyrgios.
“I just gave everything I have, it was a very tough fight," said Garin. "I am exhausted. I just gave my best, I went to the net and tried to be aggressive with my serve as well -- I think that was the key.”
Di Minaur had won all three of their previous meetings, including on the grass of Eastbourne last month, and looked in charge as he took the first set reasonably comfortably and, though forced to work harder, added the second.
Garin sank to his knees in despair after missing a golden opportunity to break for 5-4 in the third but regained his composure admirably to dominate the tiebreak.
Buoyed up, he broke in the opening game of the fourth set and off they went again, each man probing wide and deep in attack then working desperately hard in defence.
Garin seemed to have the momentum with two breaks and though he missed three break points on De Minaur’s serve he made sure on his own to set up a decider that had looked distinctly unlikely two hours earlier.
Garin broke to love in the first game of the fifth set, only for De Minaur to do the same before both men settled back into their more familiar routine.
Unsurprisingly, given his relentless court coverage, De Minaur initially appeared to tire in the fifth but he too found a second wind in a series of enthralling games where Garin had to work desperately hard to hold serve, no more so than when saving two match points at 4-5.
De Minaur responded in kind by saving two break points and, almost inevitably, the match went into a tiebreak. It was nip and tuck to 5-5 before Garin claimed four points in a row to set up the biggest win of his career.
"It’s so special," Garin said. “I’ve been working hard all my life to be in this position. Wimbledon is a dream for me -- I always said that it is my favourite tournament."
Fritz earns family stripes
Until Monday, Wimbledon's 11th seed Taylor Fritz was not even the best tennis player in his own family.
But with some hefty swipes of a garish coral-coloured racket on Court One, the American finally earned his family stripes by reaching the quarter-finals of the grasscourt grand slam.
His 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 win over qualifier Jason Kubler put him into the last eight here, and saw him match the grand slam feat of his mother who, as Kathy May, reached three slam quarter-finals in the late 1970s.
"My first grand slam quarter-final, that's really a big deal," the 24-year-old Fritz said before leaving court. "Part of the final eight and... I'm glad I could get the win on the Fourth of July, being American."
It was a muscular and domineering display from Fritz, champion on grass at Eastbourne coming into this tournament, and the outcome was never really in doubt from the start with the gulf in class only yawning wider as the match progressed.
Australian qualifier Kubler had already written another chapter of his remarkable success-in-the-face-of-adversity fairytale by reaching the second week. He has survived six knee operations to further his career but just ran out of steam and Wimbledon road.
Having beaten Kubler, the player known as "the right-handed Nadal", Fritz could next face the real deal, with Spain's second-seeded Rafa a possible last-eight opponent.
Nadal takes on Botic van de Zandschlup later on Day Eight.