Shock losses for Nadal, Sharapova at Wimbledon

2014-07-02 08:57

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Rafael Nadal ran out of comebacks at Wimbledon losing to a brash, big-serving, between-the-legs-hitting 19-year-old player who might just be a future star.

Somehow, Maria Sharapova seemed on the verge of a turnaround despite a flurry of unforced errors, saving six match points before finally succumbing on the seventh with – what else? – a missed shot.

And in the most striking sight of a memorable day of departures by past Wimbledon champions, Serena Williams couldn’t get the ball over the net in a doubles match with her sister Venus, stopping after three games because of what was described as a viral illness.

All in all, yesterday was chock-full of significant events. The most noteworthy winner had to be 144th-ranked Nick Kyrgios of Australia who used 37 aces and a have-no-fear approach to beat Nadal 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3 for a quarterfinal berth.

“I was in a bit of a zone out there,” said Kyrgios, the lowest-ranked player to beat the No 1 man at any Grand Slam tournament in 22 years.

“You’ve got to believe you can win the match from the very start and I definitely thought that,” the 1.93m Kyrgios said. “I’m playing some unbelievable tennis on the grass.”

Playing in only his fifth major tournament – he got into the field thanks to a wild-card invitation – Kyrgios is the first man to reach the quarterfinals in his Wimbledon debut in 10 years. He’s also the first teenager to defeat the top-ranked man at a Slam since Nadal was 19 when he beat Roger Federer at the 2005 French Open.

“We keep saying, ‘Who’s the next guy?’ And I think we may have found him,” seven-time major champion John McEnroe said on the BBC.

Angelique Kerber edged Sharapova 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-4. Sharapova made 49 unforced errors, 38 more than Kerber. Still, the 2004 champion saved one match point at 5-2 in the final set, then five more at 5-4, before pushing a backhand long to end it.

“I felt like I worked too hard within the match to let it go the easy way. So I did everything I could in the end to try to save those,” Sharapova said. “I did, but I didn’t save the last one.”

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