Tennis

Kyrgios ignores legal woes in 'best performance' to make Wimbledon semi-final

LONDON: Nick Kyrgios reached his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon on Wednesday, giving his "best performance" and shrugging off an impending court case where he faces an allegation of assault.

The controversial Australian defeated Cristian Garin of Chile 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) and will tackle Rafael Nadal for a place in Sunday's final.

Victory came just a day after it was revealed Kyrgios will appear in court in August after being accused of assault.

"It really didn't affect me at all, to be honest with you," said Kyrgios.

"Obviously seeing it – I'm only human. I read about it and everyone else was asking questions.

"It was hard to focus on the mission at hand. It was quarter-finals of Wimbledon today. But it didn't really affect my preparation at all. I knew I stayed true to myself and gave my best performance today."

Kyrgios, who shot to fame when he defeated Nadal at the tournament as a 144th-ranked wild card eight years ago, is the first Australian man into the semis at Wimbledon since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005.

The richly-talented but deeply divisive Kyrgios last made a Slam quarter-final seven years ago in Australia.

He admitted Wednesday that he thought his chance had gone.

"There was a point where I was almost done with the sport. I thought my ship had sailed," he said.

"But I'm sitting here, a semi-finalist at Wimbledon, it's a special accomplishment. I feel like I don't want to stop here."

Kyrgios's 2022 Wimbledon has been a rollercoaster.

Brilliant, crowd-pleasing shot-making has been accompanied by $14,000 in fines and an ugly, bitter spat with third-round opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The 27-year-old was certainly distracted in the opening stages of Wednesday's match as Garin claimed the first nine points.

But the Australian was back on level terms at 3-3 and grabbed the opening set in the 10th game.

Kyrgios romped through the second set, wrapping it up with his 10th ace of the contest.

Garin, bidding to be the first Chilean to reach a Wimbledon semi-final, ran into a Kyrgios brick wall as the Australian saved eight of the nine break points he faced over the course of the match.

Victory took Kyrgios's grass-court record in 2022 to 12 wins in 14 matches.

"I don't have a coach – I would never put that burden on someone," said Kyrgios.

"Each and every one of my team plays a very important role. No one knows my tennis more than I do, I've been playing this sport since I was seven and I'm very happy."

Next up for Kyrgios is a third Wimbledon clash against Nadal.

The Spaniard, a two-time champion, avenged his 2014 defeat to Kyrgios in a stormy encounter in 2019. Nadal leads their series 6-3.

"We are two completely different personalities," said Kyrgios.

"I feel like we respect the hell out of each other, though. It would probably be the most-watched match of all time."

Garin backed Kyrgios as a potential champion.

"Of course. He's in the semi-finals. The way that he served today – I played all of the great servers in the tour – for me he has the best serve on tour.

"He has a great chance to win the tournament.--AFP

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