Nick Kyrgios reaches Wimbledon semi-finals for first time in straight-sets win | Wimbledon 2022

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Wimbledon has seen many sides of Nick Kygrios during this past fortnight, from the boorish to the sublime, but after reaching his first grand slam semi-final with a victory that was rarely as comfortable as the 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (5) scoreline indicated, the Australian offered a fresh side to his complex character: humility.

“I thought my ship had sailed,” he admitted after defeating the Chilean Christian Garín. “I didn’t go about things great in the early part of my career.” When it was suggested that he had been in control, Kygrios shook his head. “I felt I was playing on the back foot a lot,” he replied. “I got lucky on a couple of break points. I will take that.”

This being Kyrgios, it was rare that five minutes went by when he wasn’t getting frustrated with his box, or being annoyed with the crowd. Several times he demanded more from his team, even though they kept applauding. Yet once again he found a way to win.

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“I don’t have a coach, I would never put that burden on someone,” he admitted afterwards. “Each and everyone of my team plays a role but no one knows my game better than I do. I’ve been playing this sport since I was seven so it is great to get to a grand slam semi-final.”

Kyrgios is due to face a court in Australia next month after being summonsed to face a charge of assaulting a former girlfriend. However, he retained the backing of the majority of the Court One crowd.

Nick Kyrgios gets down for a low ball.
Nick Kyrgios gets down for a low ball. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

The match could hardly have started worse for him, however. Kyrgios’ serve is one of the mightiest in the game. Yet his Chilean opponent immediately rattled a forehand winner past him, and then another, to break to love. Garín then held to love to go 2-0 and Kyrgios was looking distinctly rattled.

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“Come on, Kygs!” his team called from the stands. “Don’t say that,” he responded before demanding more energy from those in his box. But after finally getting on the board after two aces – at 126 and 131mph – he then broke back to make it 3-3 before breaking again to take the set.

From then on the match became nearly as exhausting for Kyrgios’ entourage as it was for him. For after every point, win or lose, they had to stand up to applaud their man before squatting back down on their seats. Up and down and up, nodding their heads, urging him on.

Kyrgios’ body might feel a little bit sore when he wakes up tomorrow. But so, you imagine, will the legs of his father Giorgos and sister Halimah, along with manager Daniel Horsfall, personal physio Will Maher and girlfriend Costeen Hatzi.

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After an early break in the second set Garín’s legs started to look a little heavy, the legacy of his epic five setter over Alex de Minaur, and it would have been easy for him to fall away. Instead he came close to breaking at 1-3 and 2-4 – with Kyrgios’ serve.

In the third set, Garín improved again – hitting 13 winners to one unforced error – a double fault – as the set went to a tie-break. He was playing better tennis. But Kyrgios’s serve was proving the great equaliser.

It looked all over as Kyrgios got a mini-break to go 2-0 up in the tie-break. But there was another twist as Garín won five of the next six points to go 5-3 ahead. However Chilean then shanked a forehand on his serve and missed a passing shot and Kygrios was able to capitalise – and progress.

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