HALLE WESTFALEN: Nick Kyrgios impressively rallied past Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Halle grass court tournament on Wednesday to hammer home his status as a Wimbledon threat but only after a spat with the chair umpire over sweating. Kyrgios defeated world number six Tsitsipas 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 to reach a second successive quarter-final after also making the last eight in Stuttgart five days ago.
The 27-year-old smashed his racquet after losing the opener after saving three set points. He then got into a minor spat with the chair umpire in the third game of the second set, landing himself with a warning for time-wasting. “He said I was playing too slow – statistically I’m one of the fastest,” Kyrgios said. “I had to walk to the sidelines to get my towel, there is this thing called sweat in 30 Celsius heat that runs down onto your hands.
“I needed to wipe my hands and he gave me a warning.” Kyrgios immediately sat down mid-game on his bench and thrashed the point out with the chair before returning to the court amid cheers. “The support I get from crowds around the world is amazing. They want me to go out and put on a show,” he said. Kyrgios called what he judged a frivolous warning “an unnecessary part of the game. It’s not needed in a stadium full of people”. “I later hit two aces just to prove my point.”
Kyrgios, who has played only five events this season outside of Australia, said he is proud of winning on his own terms – without a coach and playing only when it suits him – while still keeping his ranking at its current 65th. “There needs to be more grass events for sure, I’ve been talking about it for ages,” he said after defeating the second seeded Greek while saving seven of eight break points in just over two hours. “If we had six grass court tournaments in Australia, I’d never leave the country.”
Kyrgios will play a Friday quarter-final against Pablo Carreno Busta after the Spanish sixth seed beat Sebastian Korda 6-4, 0-6, 6-3. The Australian said that his lack of a massive tennis work ethic is actually a help to his game. “If I can beat some of the best players in the world and play at this level with as few events as I play, I’m pretty happy. “I’ve got a lot of people whom I’m playing for back home and they all want me to keep winning matches like this. This just proves that you can do it all your own way.”
Queen’s last eight
In another development, Marin Cilic made it into the last eight of the Queen’s grass-court tournament on Wednesday, with a 7-6 (8/6) 7-5 win over Alexander Bublik. This event acts as a warm-up for Wimbledon where Croatia’s Cilic went all the way to the final in 2017 before losing to Roger Federer in straight sets. The 33-year-old Cilic has been in good form of late, advancing to the last four of this season’s French Open before losing to Casper Ruud.
But Denis Shapovalov, a Wimbledon semi-finalist last year, was beaten in the first round at Queen’s on Wednesday, the sixth seed going down in three sets to Tommy Paul of the United States. Paul took the first set 6-4 only for Shapovalov to draw level by taking the second set 6-2. But Paul held his nerve to win the decider 6-4. Finnish qualifier Emil Ruusuvuori beat Britain’s Jack Draper 6-2, 7-6 (7/2) to advance into the quarter-finals. World number 56 Ruusuvuori was in fine form, hitting 29 winners while forcing nine break points.
Defending champion Matteo Berrettini and three-time Grand Slam title winner Stan Wawrinka will try to join Cilic and Ruusuvuori in the last eight when they face Denis Kudla and world number 35 Paul on Thursday. With no points on offer at Wimbledon this summer, due to the decision by the All England Club to ban Russian and Belarusian competitors following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Queen’s Club event is one of last opportunities for players to boost their rankings ahead of the hard-court season. – AFP