Nick Kyrgios, Rafael Nadal Reach Australian Open Quarterfinals [VIDEO]
Australian Open Round Three Highlights news
Kyrgios won three tiebreaks in a close, four-set match against 32-year-old Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to earn a 7-6(5) 4-6 7-6(6) 7-6(5) victory in 3 hours, 17 minutes.
The 22-year-old Australian (the No. 17 seed) said the 15th-seeded Tsonga was one of his idols growing up.
“Playing Jo I was obviously very nervous,” said Kyrgios, whose win on Friday was his first at Rod Laver Arena. “He was a guy that I looked up to as a kid. I still do. He is a champion of the game. I am happy to get through.”
Kyrgios will next face Bulgarian third-seed Grigor Dimitrov.
The match between the pair was not devoid of tense incidents and general misbehavior, however. Kyrgios received a code violation before the match even began for not being prepared in time. Then, Tsonga had an outburst in the fourth set.
Tsonga began arguing with chair umpire Jake Garner after the first game of the fourth set.
The Frenchman was speaking in his native tongue, and reportedly said, “bring him here, he needs to come down here”.
This prompted Garner to repeatedly tell Tsonga “you have to stop, you have to stop. Nothing good can come from it. You have to stop” before handing down a code violation.
“Because on the set point, in between the first serve and the second, the guy was talking to me and telling me, ‘You are under pressure now, you are under pressure now,’ when I was bouncing my balls,” Tsonga said.
“That’s it. I lost it and I drive a little bit crazy. It’s not fair. It’s not fair.”
Tsonga added that he believed the fan simply felt “safe” and spoke that way because he was high up in the stands.
Among the celebrities who attended the match was actor Will Smith, who was treated to loud applause from fans when featured on the big screen. Music from the movie “Men in Black” also accompanied this moment once or twice.
Kyrgios confessed he was starstruck upon seeing Smith in the crowd.
“When I saw him out here I was so nervous… People think I’m cool but I wanted him to think I was the coolest.” @NickKyrgios declares his love for Will Smith in his post-match interview 😅 #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/NuRKsNWg1F
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2018
Meanwhile, Nadal handily routed 28th-seeded Bosnian Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 on Friday. The 31-year-old top-seeded Spaniard will play 24th-seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
Nadal is now fourth in the Open Era in terms of most majors won (17) while conceding no more than five games to an opponent.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 18: Nick Kyrgios of Australia serves in his second round match against Andreas Seppi of Italy on day three of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 18, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)