Wimbledon: Nick Kyrgios fights back to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in heated third-round match

By Harry PooleBBC Sport at Wimbledon
Wimbledon 2022 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club Dates: 27 June-10 July
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, radio and online with extensive coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app.

Nick Kyrgios fought back to knock out Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and reach the fourth round of Wimbledon in a dramatic and fiery four-set encounter that saw both players given warnings by the umpire.

In a remarkable, incident-packed match, Kyrgios called for Tsitsipas to be defaulted after the 23-year-old hit a ball into the crowd after losing the second set and narrowly missed a spectator.

The Australian had already received a warning for an obscenity by then, while Tsitsipas was given a point penalty for a second code violation as he responded to an underarm serve by hitting the ball away in frustration.

But it was 2014 quarter-finalist Kyrgios who eventually came through in an enthralling fourth-set tie-break, sealing victory on his second match point to win 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-3 7-6 (9-7) in front of a captivated crowd under the Court One roof.

He will play American Brandon Nakashima next, after the 20-year-old world number 56 beat Colombian Daniel Galan 6-4 6-4 6-1.

"Honestly, it was a hell of an atmosphere, an amazing match. I felt like the favourite coming in - I beat [Tsitsipas] a couple of weeks ago," Kyrgios said in his on-court interview.

"He's a hell of a player. He knows how to beat me - he's beaten me once. I'm so happy to be through. He was getting frustrated at times. It is a frustrating sport.

"I have ultimate respect for him. Whatever happens on the court I love him and I'm close with his brother. It's amazing - everywhere I go I seem to have full stadiums. The media loves to say I'm bad for the sport but clearly I'm not."

Kyrgios emerges amid chaos of Tsitsipas battle

Once his meeting with Tsitsipas was confirmed, Kyrgios predicted an "amazing" match, assuming both of them managed to play to their potential.

Encircled by a boisterous Saturday night crowd and in a charged atmosphere, there was no shortage of drama as the players scrapped for supremacy in their first Grand Slam meeting.

Kyrgios prevailed when the players last met at the Halle Open in June, although the Australian smashed his racquet and argued with the chair umpire after receiving a warning for time-wasting en route to victory.

Here, Kyrgios had already repeatedly argued with the umpire Damien Dumusois over a line call when the first major flashpoint arrived at the end of the second set, as Tsitsipas risked striking a spectator when he sent a ball into the crowd in response to losing serve - and the second set.

It led an incensed Kyrgios to demand the supervisor come to the court and determine whether the Greek should be defaulted. Instead, Tsitsipas received only a warning.

Kyrgios had earned a warning of his own by that point but it was the Greek who appeared most agitated by the conflict as he landed himself a point penalty for his second infraction.

The 2021 French Open finalist more than once aimed the ball in the direction of Kyrgios and cut an increasingly frustrated figure as the Australian turned the match in his favour.

Kyrgios, rising to the occasion, was keen to ensure the tension was interspersed with entertainment, a between-the-legs underarm serve delighting the crowd.

As he served at 5-3 in the third set, he was struck in the chest by a Tsitsipas winner but then benefited from two fortuitous net cords. After the first, he made a cursory apology to Tsitsipas. After the second, he bowed extravagantly to the crowd and lapped up the applause, moments before a serve-volley sealed the third set.

As the light faded, the closure of the roof at 4-4 in the fourth set added an extra element of theatre to a chaotic sporting occasion.

And as the contest reached its crescendo, Tsitsipas crucially missed a set point when leading 5-4 in the fourth set and again when 7-6 up in the tie-break.

Kyrgios rallied, closing out the match with three successive points, a forehand drop shot bringing an end to a contest that will long live in the memory.

Enigmatic Kyrgios fights back to end six-year wait

The unpredictable world number 40 said following his dominant straight-set win over Filip Krajinovic in the previous round that he had wanted to remind everyone that he is "pretty good".

But news of his $10,000 (£8,200) fine for his conduct in his opening match, in which he admitted to spitting in the direction of a spectator, served as a reminder of why his undoubted ability - particularly on grass - is not always the main focus.

He has finally ended a six-year absence from the fourth round at the Slam he believes offers his best chance of a first major title.

In the early stages of Saturday's match, when the tennis was still the sole focus, Kyrgios was the first to apply pressure, earning four break points across the first four Tsitsipas service games.

On his own serve, in contrast, the Australian conceded just a single point in five service games to reach a first-set tie-break - but it was Tsitsipas who claimed the early advantage by winning four successive points against an increasingly vocal opponent to take the set.

Kyrgios continued to challenge the umpire over his grievances with a line judge but refocused sufficiently between spats to take the second set 6-4 and square the contest.

Amid the distractions, some extraordinary tennis was played throughout. Kyrgios made 51 winners to 46 from Tsitsipas, while both players delivered quality serves in big moments - with Tsitsipas edging the ace count 15-12.

A break of serve in the fourth game of set three was enough to see Kyrgios turn the match his way, before the Australian twice saved set points in the fourth - rescuing the second with a volley to stay alive in the tie-break.

His final shot, to seal only his second win over a top-five ranked player at a Grand Slam in 11 attempts, was greeted with a standing ovation, the players briefly meeting at the net as the curtain fell on a heated three hour and 17 minute encounter.

Having called for more respect for his on-court ability, Kyrgios, who now boasts the most Tour-level match-wins on grass this season, will have the chance to secure a first Grand Slam quarter-final since the 2015 Australian Open when he meets Nakashima on Monday.

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