Thursday 21 November 2019

Nick thrown out of court

Nadal has the final say in a bitter war of words

Rafa Nadal
Rafa Nadal

Rafael Nadal emerged victorious against Nick Kyrgios but the bad feeling between the two showed no signs of easing after a spicy second-round contest at Wimbledon.

The two have been locked in a war of words over the last few weeks, with Kyrgios trading insults with Nadal (inset) and his uncle Toni and that threatened to spill out on to Centre Court in the Spaniard's 6-3 3-6 7-6 (5) 7-6 (3) win.

There were the customary underarm serves and constant chatter with the umpire, but there was almost a flashpoint in the third set when Kyrgios thrashed a forehand straight at Nadal and opted not to apologise.

It was not the first time he appeared to take aim at his opponent and a furious Nadal let Kyrgios know exactly how he felt by giving him an icy stare, but he got the ultimate revenge by sending the Australian home.

The pair were cordial at the end, shaking hands at the net as tempers cooled. That will come as no surprise to Kyrgios, who predicted he would lose when replying to a post on Instagram, while his reported presence in the Dog and Fox pub in Wimbledon village until 11.30pm on the eve of the match is sure to be a talking point.

Kyrgios, so often prone to a mental checkout, to his credit stuck to his task and made Nadal work hard, narrowly missing out on a place in the record books when he fired down a 143mph second serve - the second fastest in history.

After all the pre-match hype regarding their feud, Nadal made an early statement by surging into a 3-0 lead.

Much of the beef between the two started in Acapulco in February when Kyrgios produced an underarm serve on his way to a three-set win and it took him only 24 minutes to bring it out of his locker.

It earned a much warmer reception by a thrilled Centre Court crowd, while Nadal afforded himself a chuckle and he was smiling again soon after as he sealed the first set 6-3, serving it out easily.

Kyrgios spent the entirety of Nadal's toilet break complaining about his slow play, but he channelled that frustration in the best way possible at the start of the second as he found the zone.

He broke to lead 2-0 with an arrowing forehand down the line to end a pulsating rally and then saved two break points, which left him roaring all the way back to his chair.

The 24-year-old even shook off a warning from umpire Damien Dumusois for continued ranting about Nadal's speed of play, to serve the second set out and level it up.

He is never far from the edge of the cliff, though, and was venting again, this time over Dumusois' decision to award a point to Nadal after he challenged a second serve which was originally called out.

The spat between the two looked like it might spill out on to court at the business end of the third set as Kyrgios thundered a forehand straight at Nadal and did not apologise when it hit him, earning himself a stern glare from his opponent.

Nadal got his revenge by taking the set on a tie-break to move one away from victory.

Kyrgios forced another tie-break in the fourth set and he will have nightmares about an easy volley he put into the net on the first point, which gave Nadal the impetus.

Marin Cilic, runner-up in 2017, is out after losing in straight sets to Sousa. The Croatian went out 6-4 6-4 6-4. Last year's semi-finalist John Isner also crashed out after a five-set loss to Mikhail Kukushkin while Roger Federer beat Jay Clarke 6-1 7-6 (3) 6-2.

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