Nick Kyrgios calls out Rafa Nadal in latest mid-match meltdown

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·Sports Editor
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Nick Kyrgios, pictured here smashing his racquet and arguing with the chair umpire.
Nick Kyrgios smashed his racquet and argued with the chair umpire during his match against Stefanos Tsitsipas in Halle. Image: Getty

Nick Kyrgios has stunned World No.6 Stefanos Tsitsipas in Halle despite another volatile blow-up that threatened to derail him.

Kyrgios obliterated his racquet, got embroiled in another officiating bust-up and was on the verge of giving up - yet still managed to score perhaps his best win of the year.

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The Australian star came from a set down to knock out the second seed 5-7 6-2 6-4 in the traditional pre-Wimbledon tournament in Germany on Wednesday.

It was a thrilling encounter, featuring some of Kyrgios' most dazzling pyrotechnics on the grass-court surface he thrives upon.

However it also featured some familiar moments when he was seemingly on the verge of meltdown.

After losing the opening set which Tsitsipas controlled, Kyrgios ended up smashing his racquet to smithereens, repeatedly hammering it against the side of his court-side seat.

He received a code violation, Kyrgios got involved in another heated argument in the second set after being penalised for a time violation on Tsitsipas' serve.

After chair umpire Timo Janzen said Kyrgios had kept Tsitsipas waiting to serve, the Aussie star protested, sat down and demanded the supervisor be called before he eventually continued.

He told the umpire that the penalty was ridiculous because he was one of the fastest players in the world.

"This happens every match, I've waited so many times for Rafa (Nadal)," he could be heard saying.

Nadal is notoriously slow between points and was called out by John McEnroe during his quarter-final clash with Novak Djokovic at the French Open.

Kyrgios admitted afterwards that he'd been close to giving up on the match, but his team helped him through to a quarter-final date with sixth-seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta.

Asked how he'd managed to win in a post-match interview, Kyrgios said: "My team. My girlfriend, my physio, my best friend, my manager, they just kept me in it, got me over the line.

"At times, I felt like giving up, frustrated, and Stef was rolling but, I don't know, they somehow dug me out of a hole."

Kyrgios said he felt his time violation had just been for show.

"Umpires, I don't think they understand... Everyone here in Halle was looking forward to seeing me and Stef play, they (umpires) just want to be relevant," he said.

"The match was going fine, the crowd was enjoying it - it was completely unnecessary."

Nick Kyrgios, pictured here arguing with the umpire during his match against Stefanos Tsitsipas in Halle.
Nick Kyrgios argues with the umpire during his match against Stefanos Tsitsipas in Halle. (Photo by Thomas F. Starke/Getty Images)

Nick Kyrgios scores 24th win over top-10 opponent

Asked if he'd found it hard to stay focused, Kyrgios shrugged: "Not really. As you can see from the scoreboard, I focused pretty well. Lost the first set, and regained my focus and got it done."

The 27-year-old's brilliance came to the fore after he regained his focus to earn his 24th victory over a top-10 player - a remarkable statistic for a man still to make the top-10 himself.

His victory came with some astonishing tracer forehands and with the help of one outlandish recovery forehand, played from behind his own back, which seemed to derail Tsitsipas.

It was a stark contrast to last week in Stuttgart when Kyrgios effectively tanked the third set against Andy Murray after claiming he was racially abused by a member of the crowd.

He next plays Carreno Busta, who earned a big win over rising American Sebastian Korda 6-4 0-6 6-3.

Defending champion Ugo Humbert was knocked out by Hubert Hurkacz 7-6 (7-5) 6-3, while World No.1 and top seed Daniil Medvedev advanced by beating David Goffin 6-3 6-2.

with AAP

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