Nick Kyrgios has stunned World No.5 Stefanos Tsitsipas in a massive boilover at Wimbledon in a match full of controversy and ill-will.
The enigmatic Aussie talent overcame an injury scare and an all-too-familiar running battle with officials to upend Tsitsipas in a drama-charged third-round encounter on Saturday.
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The match reached an ugly flashpoint in the second set when Kyrgios demanded Tsitsipas be defaulted from the match after the Greek star hit a ball into the crowd in anger.
After Kyrgios levelled the match at one-set all, Tsitsipas whacked a ball in anger towards the front row of spectators.
The ball appeared to hit a wall before rebounding into some fans, with Kyrgios immediately questioning the umpire about why Tsitsipas wasn't defaulted.
Novak Djokovic was infamously defaulted at the US Open in 2020 when he accidentally stuck a line judge with a ball he hit in anger.
“Is that a default or what? He just hit the ball at the f***ing crowd. Are you dumb?" Kyrgios raged at chair umpire Damien Dumusois.
"So you can hit a ball at the crowd, hit someone and not get defaulted? Are you dumb?
“You’re a disgrace. You change the rules whenever you want …
“Give me all the supervisors. I’m not playing until we get to the bottom of it.”
Kyrgios refused to continue the match until he spoke to the tournament supervisor, and many thought he had a point.
“The idea that this near-miss stands; and Novak’s far less forceful 2020 US Open swat led to immediate default … this rule needs a serious reassessment,” tennis writer Jon Wertheim tweeted.
After a lengthy delay Kyrgios eventually agreed to keep playing, taking down the World No.5 in a 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-3 7-6 (9-7) victory.
Kyrgios also received a code violation after being reported by a linesman for swearing, but somehow managed to keep his composure to send Tsitsipas packing.
Tsitsipas, who had Australia's former finalist Mark Philippoussis in his courtside box, complained to Dumusois that "this isn't tennis" and copped a point penalty for smacking a return off a Kyrgios under-arm serve deliberately into the scoreboard.
Why can't pros just learn to NOT do this? See also: Alejandro Davidovich Fokina getting DQed on match point because he did the same.
— J. P. Gownder (கவுண்டர்) (@jgownder) July 2, 2022
I don't get how Tsitsipas can hit a ball into the audience in frustration, hit a spectator and only gets a warning??? I'm not a djokovic fan but djokovic get kicked out of the us open for essentially the same thing HMMMM #wimbledon
— Spose (@spizzyspose) July 2, 2022
Kyrgios gets a warning for language. Per the rules, but Tsitsipas gets nothing for nearly hitting a fan in the face with the ball?
— Ryan McDaniel (@RyanColby264) July 2, 2022
#tsitsipas is a disgrace to sport and tennis should have been kicked out.
— Sports Intelligence (@cerebralsport) July 2, 2022
Tsitsipas is a disgrace, Should be defaulted for that. Joke of a player. #Wimbledon
— Count Gregor Gilmore (@HappyGilmore14) July 2, 2022
Nick Kyrgios overcomes injury scare at Wimbledon
Kyrgios also left his fans' heart-in-mouth after falling awkwardly in the opening game of the fourth set and staying down for seemingly an age, clutching his right hip.
But he eventually rose to have the last laugh, recovering from a set down to defeat Tsitsipas for the fourth time in as many tour outings and advance to the last 16.
"I felt like the favourite coming in. I played in a couple of weeks ago but I knew it was going to be a tough match," Kyrgios said.
"He's a hell of a player and it was a hell of a match. I'm just super happy to be through.
"He was getting frustrated at times - it's a frustrating sport. You all think you can play, but it's very frustrating.
"I've got ultimate respect for him. Whatever happens on the sport, I love him and I'm close to his brother so ..."
Kyrgios didn't drop serve all night, saving all five break points he faced, and crunched 14 aces in another imperious serving display that will place his rivals on notice.
A quarter-finalist on debut as a teenager in 2014, the 27-year-old will play unseeded American Brandon Nakashima on Monday for another place in the last eight.
If he wins that, Kyrgios could meet Alex de Minaur in an all-Australian quarter-final - potentially for the right to take on Rafael Nadal in the semis.
It was a remarkable day for the Aussies at Wimbledon, with Kyrgios and De Minaur joined by Jason Kubler and Ajla Tomljanovic in advancing to the fourth round.
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