Kyrgios contains Chilean, books first Slam semi

AUSTRALIAN firebrand Nick Kyrgios has reached his first Grand Slam semi-final after atoning for compatriot Alex de Minaur‘s loss to Cristian Garin, beating the Chilean in straight sets in the Wimbledon quarter finals. Kyrgios won 6-4 6-3 7-6 in two hours and 13 minutes to advance to the final four, setting up an enthralling clash with all-time Grand Slam record holder Rafael Nadal.

Kyrgios fought past Garin in three tight sets, breaking thrice from six chances, while Garin could only break once. Despite the scoreline, the match was relatively even with Kyrgios hitting 35 winners to 30, and having six more unforced errors (29-23). The Australian also won 73 per cent of his first serve points – including 17 aces – compared to Garin’s 68 per cent and two aces. Post-match, Kyrgios said he was overwhelmed at making a Grand Slam semi-final.

“An amazing atmosphere out here again. I just never thought that I would be in the semi-finals at a Grand Slam. I thought that ship had sailed,” Kyrgios said “I didn’t go about things great earlier in my career and may have missed my window. “I am really proud of the way I have come back out here.”

With the grass court circuit ending after Wimbledon, Kyrgios’ 12 wins will be recorded as the most for 2022, three clear of the undefeated Matteo Berrettini who missed Wimbledon due to COVID-19. Now he faces the incredible Nadal who has won both the Grand Slam titles this year, defeating Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final and Casper Ruud at Roland Garros. Now the Australian is the only one standing between the Spanish star and another Grand Slam final.

On the Fritz: Rafa rolls Taylor in five set thriller

In search of a remarkable 23rd Grand Slam title – to go ahead by three in the overall men’s major titles and join Serena Williams in equal second overall – Nadal needed to pull out every trick in his kit to shake off American Taylor Fritz in five sets. The match lasted a whopping four hours and 21 minutes, with the Spanish star coming back from two sets to one down, and battling an abdominal injury, to run out the winner, 3-6 7-5 3-6 7-5 7-6.

Nadal weathered the Fritz storm of 19 aces to only hit the 42 unforced errors across the five-set match, whilst still breaking even in the winners (56-apiece). Fritz did well to start strongly, but like when he faced Djokovic earlier in the year and his opponent was playing hurt, the American did not take full advantage, letting Nadal back into the game and the Spaniard took full advantage, winning the fifth set 10-4.

“It was a tough afternoon against a great player,” Nadal said post-match. “All the credit to Taylor, he has been playing great during the whole season. From my personal side, it was not an easy match at all, so I’m just very happy to be in the semi-finals.

“The body in general is fine. In the abdominal [area] it is not going well, being honest. I had to find a way to serve a little bit differently, for a lot of moments I was thinking maybe I would not be able to finish the match, but I don’t know. The court, the energy [helped me].”

Electric Elena topples Tomljanovic to reach last four

Elena Rybakina was in fine form against Ajla Tomljanovic in the Wimbledon quarter final | Image Credit: Sébastien Bozon/Getty Images

Kazakhstan young gun Elena Rybakina has reached her first Grand Slam semi-final after coming from behind to defeat Ajla Tomljanovic in one hour and 51 minutes. The Kazakh came from a set down to knock over the Australian on No.1 Court, 4-6 6-2 6-3 and advance to the last four to play Romanian Simona Halep. Just 22 years old, Rybakina is the youngest of the eight Wimbledon semi-finalists, and is eyeing off her third WTA Tour title, having won two of her eight made finals.

The world number number 23 and 17th seed hit 34 winners to Tomljanovic’s 14, and only hit the seven more unforced errors (28-21) during the victory,. She also controlled the net play with 15 of 23 points there, whilst the Australian largely stayed at the baseline (five of nine). The winner put down 15 aces to one, and won 76 and 52 per cent of her first and second serve points compared to Tomljanovic’s 57 and 48 per cent. Now Rybakina has her sights set on taking down past Wimbledon winner, Halep.

“It was very tough matches. I remember in Dubai I lost in the tiebreak, very close,” Rybakina said. At the US Open also, there I was a bit injured. In the end I just know that I have to play till the end because she’s great fighter. No matter the score, just keep focusing on my game, on my plan. Just be more stable and also confident in some moments.

“The key, of course, is my serve, aggressive game. She’s a great champion. She’s moving really well, reading the game. I just try to do my best, focus on things which I can control: my serve, my shots, emotions. No matter what’s happening, just to stay calm, keep playing point by point.”

Halep ends Anisimova’s run, moves one step closer to second Wimbledon title

Romanian Grand Slam winner Simona Halep is into her third Wimbledon semi-final and just two victories away from lifting the All-England trophy aloft for the second time in three tournaments. Halep proved too good for rising American talent, 20th seed Amanda Anisimova, only dropping six games in 63 minutes on her way to a 6-2 6-4 victory on Centre Court. Though not a power player, Halep only hit two less winners than Anisimova (11-13), and a ridiculous six unforced errors – to Anisimova’s 28 – in order to win through to the semi-final.

“I know she’s a big hitter. I played against her few times. I’m sure that she has a lot of confidence being in semis now here in Wimbledon,” Halep said post-match.

“But it’s a new match, new challenge. I’m ready for it and I will try to give everything to take my chance. I feel ready to go. I feel good physically. Mentally, as well. … I’m just thinking that I have a very nice chance to play semis in Wimbledon.”

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