It was a long day for both Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios. Both men had to come out and play twice on Friday as rain pushed their respective Thursday night matches into Friday afternoon. The unseeded Aussie just edged out fellow big-server Ivo Karlovic in straight sets while Nadal took out countryman Albert Ramos-Viñolas.
Nadal won the past two meetings against Kyrgios, including one this year in Madrid, but we all know that the Aussie can shine on the big stage. Kyrgios did just that in front of a loud crowd on Center Court in Cincinnati, winning 6-2, 7-5 over Nadal to book a spot in the semifinals against David Ferrer.
Kyrgios Quick Off The Mark
Throughout the week, there have been questions about the Aussie's health as he has been battling injuries all season and in his opening match vs David Goffin. There weren't any problems of those sorts for Kyrgios tonight.
Nadal served to open the match, and Kyrgios came out firing. A couple of errors from the top seed gave Kyrgios break points, and he was able to take it after Nadal hit a forehand long. The Aussie was hitting some blistering serves to start the match, with serves reaching near 140 MPH.
The Aussie would get the second break of serve to start the match as a shaky Nadal hit more errors from the baseline which was followed by a poor drop shot that Kyrgios was able to get to, hitting a winner to go up 3-0. Up 40-0 while serving for 4-0, the Aussie pulled out one of his famous tweeners he's known for. Nevertheless, he was still able to hold at 15 as the Aussie looked to run away with the opening set.
The soon to be world number one finally got on the board in the fifth game, but two holds of serve was all he managed. Kyrgios was playing some phenomenal tennis with his full power on display. He closed out the first set 6-2.
Kyrgios Broken Late But Still Hangs On
Once again, Nadal opened the set serving but was able to hold serve this time. Kyrgios faced the first break point of the set down 1-2. He was able to save it and hold with his big serves.
Kyrgios broke Nadal for the 3-2 lead and held for 4-2. The crowd was trying to keep the Spaniard in it, and at 3-5, 15-40 down, Nadal pulled out some timely shots to get it to 4-5. Serving for the match, the Aussie tightened up a bit. He saved the first break opportunity for Nadal and had match point once again, but an errant forehand on the second break point gave the one seed, the break back.
Nadal struggled after holding, getting broken at love to give Kyrgios another chance to serve for the match. A forehand winner set up double match point, and the Aussie did no wrong this time, finishing the match with an ace and a huge, "Come on!"