Nineteen-year-old Australian Nick Kyrgios staged one of the most improbable upsets in recent history, upsetting world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in four sets 7-6, 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 in the fourth round at Wimbledon on Tuesday.
Kyrgios, playing in his first Wimbledon, handed Nadal, a five-time Wimbledon finalist, his first loss to a teenager since 2007 (Djokovic). Kyrgios is the first teenager to take out a world No. 1 since Nadal did it to Roger Federer in 2005.
Kyrgios' audacious victory earns him a spot in the quarterfinals against Canada's Milos Raonic. The world No. 144 became the first wild card to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon since 2009, and now he's on to the quarterfinals having beaten a 14-time Grand Slam champion in the process.
"You gotta believe that you can win the match from the start," Kyrgios said. "He hit some extraordinary shots. That's what he's always going to bring."
Speaking of extraordinary shots, having won the first set, Kyrgios attempted a brash, between-the-legs drop shot that only someone supremely confident in his abilities would attempt against Nadal. Sporting a designer haircut and necklace, Kyrgios lofted the shot of the tournament.
The first three sets -- the first and third won by the teenager -- lasted a minimum of 47 minutes, but by the final set, it was Kyrgios who still had stamina left and not the most heralded player in tennis. Nadal's known as the world's best defensive player, but Kyrgios' fresh legs and laser-like backhand allowed him to maintain even rallies, which ultimately wore down Nadal.
One person who likely isn't shocked by Tuesday's massive upset is reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, who recently called Kyrgios "The next big Aussie star." Even he couldn't have predicted how Kyrgios, playing in just his fifth tour-level tournament, would handle the pressure.
Up 40-0 and serving for the match, Kyrgios showed no fear as he aced out Nadal -- his 37th of the match. After the final point, Kyrgios turned to look at his family, unaccustomed to this sort of thrill.
"I didn't know what to do. Drop to the ground, throw my racket. I turned to everyone who's been supporting me," he said.
With a look of incredulity, Nadal left the court having dropped the ninth game of the fourth set. But ever the sportsman, the Spaniard stopped to sign a few autographs on his way out of Center Court. Kyrgios will eventually turn his attention to Raonic, but that won't happen in the next few hours.
"The mind's buzzing. I haven't thought about it and I'm not even going to think about it tonight."
Ninth-seeded Angelique Kerber earned a thrilling, upset victory over No. 5 Maria Sharapova on Tuesday morning, winning 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 despite dropping six match points in the final set. The win earns Kerber a spot in the quarterfinals where she'll face Canada's Eugenie Bouchard.
Down 5-2 in the final set, Sharapova won her next game, then broke Kerber to remain on serve at 5-4. Down 40-0, Sharapova battled back, staving off match point after match point, before she finally drilled a backhand long to give Kerber her first victory over a top-5 opponent at a major.
EPIC point gives Angelique Kerber a seventh match point. This is stupidly fun stuff. #Wimbledon— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) July 1, 2014
Kerber withstood an unyielding side-to-side assault from Sharapova, utilizing all sorts of defensive returns to her advantage. Looping shots, low-lining returns. Everything. Somehow, she regained her composure after double-faulting late in the third set to finally earn the victory by breaking Sharapova in the final game. Sharapova's undoing was ultimately her 49 unforced errors, a result of her trying to be too precise against Kerber's relentless returns.
Still, the dizzying, powerful rallies earned a standing ovation from the Center Court crowd as each player seemed to find new heights while the tension continued to build.
"We played on a really high level, everything was so close. I'm just happy that I won. She's a great player, she played so well on grass. I was just fighting and concentrating on myself. I'm so happy to be in the quarters now," Kerber said.
After Sharapova battled from 40-0 to deuce, it appeared that the momentum had turned completely and that Kerber wouldn't be able to secure the upset. The 26-year-old German showed her mettle, though.
"When I had the three match points in a row, and it was deuce, I just tried to focus on myself and just said to myself, believe in your game. Just try and hit the ball, be aggressive."
Federer easily prevails
Roger Federer eased his way into the quarterfinals at Wimbledon on Tuesday with a straight sets 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 defeat of No. 24 Tommy Robredo. It's a bit of revenge for the Swiss star as Robredo ousted him in straight sets from the US Open last year, preventing Federer from facing Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.
Federer was near flawless on Tuesday, amassing 11 aces as a result of his powerful serve, which averaged 114 MPH. Federer leaned on his always reliant ground strokes while balancing those with precise execution at the net. He scored on 29 of 41 chances at the net, compared to just seven of 13 from Robredo.
"I was able to start off strong and sort of keep that momentum until the end," he said, having won the match in just over an hour and a half.
Federer will face fellow countryman Stan Wawrinka in the quarters, with a possible semifinal matchup against Nadal looming in the future.
"I feel like my game's right there. It's important not to have any hiccups and any letdowns," he said. "You're sort of only in the quarterfinals, and that's really where the tournament starts."
No. 5 Wawrinka wins in straight sets
Stan Wawrinka advanced in straight sets over Feliciano Lopez, setting up an all-Swiss quarterfinal against Roger Federer. Wawrinka won 7-6, 7-6, 6-3.
Wawrinka had Lopez on his heels all morning as he smashed 31 aces.
No. 8 Raonic advances to quarters past No. 10 Nishikori
Canada's Milos Raonic dropped the first set against Kei Nishikori and then reeled off three consecutive sets to earn a trip to Wimbledon's quarterfinals. He lost the first set 4-6, then won 6-1, 7-6, 6-3 with a total of 35 aces throughout the match. He'll face the winner of Rafael Nadal vs. Nick Kyrgios.
No. 3 Halep advances to quarters, will face Lisicki
Simona Halep, the top remaining seed in the women's draw, advanced to the quarterfinals on Tuesday with a straight sets 6-3, 6-0 victory against Zarina Diyas.
Halep dominated with her serve, scoring on 16 of 19 of her first serve points. Her power and precision bewildered the 72nd-ranked Kazakhstani. Halep, who cleanly dispatched her opponent in just under an hour, will face last year's runner-up Sabine Lisicki in the quarters.
No. 19 Lisicki handled unseeded Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, despite 20 double faults.
Halep is now the favorite after top seed Serena Williams dropped her third round match in three sets and No. 2 Li Na lost to Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in two sets.
Safarova advances to first career Slam semifinal
Lucie Safarova defeated Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-1 to reach her first-ever Slam semifinal. She'll face either No. 6 seed Petra Kvitova or Zahlavova Strycova, who'll play for the other semifinal spot later today.