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Nick Kyrgios of Australia in action against Kyle Edmund of Britain during their Round of sixteen tennis match at the Fever Tree Championship at Queen’s Club in London, Britain, 21 June 2018. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL



By Richard Pagliario


LONDON—Queen’s Club members were packed tight on the terrace enthralled, while an audacious Nick Kyrgios was remodeling the historic Centre Court below.


Serving with the potent punch of a man trying to bang a branch off the Fever-Tree logo stamped on the blue back wall, Kyrgios cracked aces 32 and saved the only break point he faced in the last game of a 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 6-3 victory over Kyle Edmund.


“I feel pretty good,” said Kyrgios wearing a black Boston Celtics baseball cap beneath a white Nike hoodie while texting during his post-match presser. “I got a bit tight towards the end of the match, which is normal. I haven’t played a lot of matches in the last couple of months.


“So, I mean, when I’m serving out a match, we have been playing for a couple hours and level has been pretty good. I got pretty tight. Yeah, apart from that, I’m always pretty relaxed. 32 aces helps.”


The 23-year-old Aussie arrived in London winless in three prior Queen’s Club appearances and has beaten Britain’s best twice this week. Kyrgios played party pooper spoiling two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray’s comeback on Tuesday.


Today, Kyrgios produced patches of buzz-kill brilliance mixed with Harlem Globetrotters-style trick shots beating back British No. 1 Edmund to set up a quarterfinal clash with reigning champion Feliciano Lopez.


Kyrgios conquered the Spanish lefty, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, en route to the Stuttgart semifinals last week.


This was a typical Kyrgios match offering atypical tennis.


Sometimes, Kyrgios plays trick shots to entertain the crowd, other times he does it to engage himself and occasionally he does it simply because he can.


There was a tweener approach shot, a hopping tweener lob winner to open the final set, a faked Federer-esque SABR and even Kyrgios celebrating a fan’s slick snatch catch by turning and applauding him then tapping successive shots into the crowd to test the guy’s hands again.



— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) June 21, 2018

Ninety minutes into the match you half-expected Kyrgios, who was two points from a straight-sets victory, to break out the tweener serve or tweener return or flip the racquet around and try a tweener with the handle of his Yonex.


“I think it’s obviously a good feeling when you hit a good shot and the crowd likes it,” Kyrgios said. “The crowd has been awesome here the last couple days. I haven’t really played my best tennis here at all. I always get a pretty warm welcome. So, yeah, I feel good. I feel at home here.”


In a match of two massive servers, extensive rallies were minimal.


An edge came early in the opening tie break when Edmund over-hit a forehand giving Kyrgios the mini-break and a 2-1 lead.


Searing an ace and a slider serve in succession, Kyrgios stretched the lead to 4-1. Successive forehand winners earned Kyrgios three set points. The 6’4″ Aussie fended off a big forehand then spun a backhand winner crosscourt snatching the 39-minute opening set.


Delivering a near shutout serving performance, Kyrgios cranked 11 aces and won 20 of 21 first-serve points in the set.


Unleashing the rare tweener approach shot, Kyrgios knifed a backhand volley earning the first break point of the match to open the second set. Edmund erased it with a 127 mph bullet, eventually holding.


The seventh-seeded Briton denied a pair of break points in the 11th game.


In a streaky tie break, Edmund burst out to a 4-0 lead only to see Kyrgios answer with a three-point run.


A casual drop shot that sat up cost Kyrgios as Edmund sped forward for the pass and set point. Blasting a big serve, Edmund leveled after 93 minutes.


Aussie Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt leaned forward in his front-row seat looking more drained by what he say than Kyrgios himself.


The Brisbane champion drew a wild forehand error converting the first break of the match for 3-1 in the decider.


Given his dominant serving to that point, the break looked decisive, but this is Nick Kyrgios so there was more drama to come.


Serving for his fourth quarterfinal of the season, Kyrgios was muttering misgivings and other choice language after facing his first break point.


Kyrgios saved it with a bold drop shot that a sprinting Edmund reached before slipping, nearly hyper-extending his knee and crashing to the court. The ball sailed long, while Edmund erupted punching the net in frustration.


Bumping a backhand winner down the line, Kyrgios closed in two hours, 11 minutes, improving to 15-5 on the season, moving to within one win of his second straight semifinal and stamping himself a Wimbledon contender in his post-match presser.


Asked how big of a threat he can be at Wimbledon, Kyrgios replied: “Big one,” while calling Edmund “a massive” contender at SW19.


It ended the first meeting between Kyrgios and Edmund since the 2014 Nottingham Challenger.


Their first match in four years could be a prelude to a second match in four hours.


The pair are set to square off in doubles later today with Kyrgios and 2002 Wimbledon winner Hewitt scheduled to play Edmund and Neal Skupski.


Editors note: this website has always admired the often misunderstood and mercurial master of touch and athleticism known as Nick Krygios. So happy to see the “Big Kid” happy.

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