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Nick Kyrgios is ready to pour a celebratory beverage into his mouth instead of angrily sending spittle flying out of it.
The controversial Kyrgios advanced through the fourth round of Wimbledon for the first time since 2014 with a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6, 3-6, 6-2 five-set win Monday against Brandon Nakashima of the United States. He will face Cristian Garin for the first time in the quarterfinals.
“I need a glass of wine for sure tonight,” Kyrgios said in his post-match on-court interview with ESPN. “For sure.”
Kyrgios, 27, was favoring his right shoulder throughout the three-plus-hour marathon, which ended with Kyrgios letting out a victory scream and pointing to his ear as to urge the crowd to cheer louder. He still had 79 winners and 35 aces to punch his ticket to his first Grand Slam quarterfinal since the 2015 Australian Open.
“I’ve played a lot of tennis in the last month-and-a-half,” Kyrgios said when asked about his pain tolerance. “I’m just proud of the way I steadied the ship. [Nakashima] came firing in the fourth set. His level didn’t drop.
“Obviously, my five-set rep is pretty good. I’ve never lost a five-set match here. Honestly, that’s what I was thinking about: I’ve been here before. I’ve done it before. And I came through again.”
The match had drama but not the same fireworks as Kyrgios’ earlier wins, beginning when he was fined for spitting in the direction of a spectator that he said was disrespectful during his first-round victory.
After a straight forward second-round win, Kyrgios survived a heated third-rounder against Stefanos Tsitsipas. They traded barbs afterward, with Tsitsipas describing Kyrgios as “evil” and a “bully” and Kyrgios retaliating by saying his opponent is “soft” and “not liked” by other tennis players. Tsitsipas was fined $10,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct after hitting a ball into the stands and Kyrgios was fined $4,000 for foul language.
Kyrgios was nothing but complimentary of the 20-year-old Nakashima’s effort and bright future after their match. He’s worn those inexperienced underdog shoes, of course. As a teenager playing Wimbledon in 2014, Kyrgios beat Rafael Nadal.
“These are all things I have in the back of my mind,” Kyrgios said. “All these experiences that I’ve had, I think that’s what got me over the line today.”