After three challenging matches at the Wimbledon Campionships, the obstacles continue to pile on for second seed Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard is scheduled to face the only remaining Australian in the draw, Nick Kyrgios, in what should be an entertaining and compelling affair. This is the first time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour.
After once again dropping the opening set of his match at Wimbledon, Rafael Nadal survived the early onslaught to rebound tremendously to secure the 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 victory over Mikhail Kukushkin. Similar to all his other matches this weak, Nadal started weak but was able to regroup and finish in dominant fashion.
“I’ve finished all the matches [this week] playing better than when I started; that’s very positive,” Nadal told BBC television. “I’m very happy to be in the second week again after two years of losing in the first and second round. I had good tactics today; I was fighting for every ball and looking for solutions.”
Nick Kyrgios is undoubtedly one of the top stories of the tournament on the men’s side of the draw. The Australian youngster, who is a budding talent and one of the rising stars of the ATP World Tour, began his fortnight at SW19 with two consecutive five-set matches, the first of which was against Stephanie Robert, while the second was a notable upset victory over France’s Richard Gasquet. He would follow up with a four-set win against towering server Jiri Vesely to set up his fourth round match against Nadal.
“I never thought that I would be seeing Nadal in my fourth round Wimbledon in my 19th year,” said Kyrgios. “I thought it would take years and years of work to finally have an opportunity like that. To think that it’s going to happen in about a day is daunting, but so exciting, as well.”
While Nadal will undoubtedly be a heavy favourite on Tuesday, he is well aware of the obstacle ahead of him, particularly since he has never faced the hungry Aussie on the tour.
“Young players are very dangerous as they always have something special,” Nadal said of Kyrgios. “They are able to play with no pressure. They are fresh. He has a great serve. He’s an aggressive player.”
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in Four Sets