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Rafael Nadal Battles Past Nick Kyrgios in a Close Match at Australian Open 2020

Rafael Nadal Battles Past Nick Kyrgios in a Close Match at Australian Open 2020

World No.1 Rafael Nadal rallied past Nick Kyrgios in a gruelling four-setter 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(4) in the fourth round of the Australian Open 2020 on Monday. With this victory, Nadal reaches his 12th quarterfinals at the Melbourne Park.

The 19-time Grand Slam champion withstood 25 aces from Kyrgios in the course of four sets. Nadal counterpunched 64 winners against Kyrgios’ 50 winners. While the Mallorcan made 27 unforced errors, Kyrgios committed 43 unforced errors.

Rafael Nadal broke once to win the first set

Nadal started the match with a shaky service game, hitting two double faults before getting his head back and hold the game. The Spaniard broke Kyrgios after he was 40-15 down in the fourth game.

Kyrgios gifted two points to his opponents, hitting two drop shots in the net before Nadal secured the break and get a 3-1 lead. “F*ck man,” said Kyrgios after losing the game. The World No.1 then served out the opening set 6-3 in 37 minutes. Nadal did not face a single breakpoint on his serve, winning 89% of first-serve points.

Rafael Nadal

Nick Kyrgios levelled back the match

Kyrgios held a tough opening service game of the second set as he saved two breakpoints with a long rally win and a forehand drop shot before closing with an ace.

The 24-year-old came into the match out of nowhere, breaking Nadal for the first time in the match in the fourth game. The Mallorcan gave away two free points to Kyrgios with a couple of unforced errors before he hit a running passing shot to secure the break.

The 23rd seed served out the second set 6-3 with an ace. Kyrgios blasted 7 aces and 15 winners to get the better of Nadal in the second set, swinging the momentum on his side.

Nadal edged Kyrgios in the third set tiebreaker

The third set saw no break of serves till 6-6 with both the players holding their nerves in their high-intensity service games throughout the set.

Nick Kyrgios

There was a bit of a drama in the 11th game of the set when the linesman called Nadal’s service in, which was challenged by Kyrgios and the ball was out. The Australian mouth off at chair umpire James Keothavong as he criticised the lines official.

In the tiebreaker, Nadal rushed to a 5-3 lead with a mini-break. The hot-headed Aussie also thrashed the racquet in the court as he lost his cool after he hit a shot into the net.

However, Nick Kyrgios dragged himself to a 5-5 lead before Nadal earned a set point with the help of a double fault from Kyrgios. The 33-year-old squandered the set point with a double fault. He held back his nerves to win the next two points to clinch the third set 7-6(8-6) in 1 hour and 14 minutes.

Nadal wraps the match with the fourth set victory

Nadal carried his momentum in the next set as he broke Kyrgios in the third game of the set. The Spaniard, who was on song in the fourth set, was broken back while he was serving for the match at 5-4.

In response, Rafael Nadal earned two breakpoint opportunities in the next game but could not grab it as Kyrgios levelled up to hold a crucial service game.

The set was forced to a tie-break after Nadal held his serve at 15. In the tiebreaker. The veteran went onto win the fourth set tiebreaker 7-4 and win the match after 3 hours and 38 minutes. With this victory, Nadal extends his head-to-head lead over Nick Kyrgios to 5-3.

He next will face Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals of the 2020 Australian Open on Wednesday.

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