Wimbledon: Kyrgios downs Raonic; Wawrinka, Gasquet advance

  • Agencies, London
  • Updated: Jul 03, 2015 22:01 IST

Australia's Nick Kyrgios exacted revenge for his loss in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon last year to Canada's Milos Raonic with a 5-7, 7-5, 7-6(3), 6-3 victory over the Canadian in the third round of men's singles at The Championships on Friday.

French Open champion Stan Wawrinka and 21st seed Richard Gasquet of France also won their third round matches, in straight sets against Spain's Fernando Verdasco and Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, respectively.

Kyrgios's memorable Wimbledon debut, which included a stunning upset of Rafael Nadal, was ended by Raonic in a tight four-set quarter-final last year. But the 20-year-old made amends for that loss as he eliminated the Canadian seventh seed to set up a last 16 clash with French 21st seed Richard Gasquet.

Kyrgios, seeded 26th, hit 34 aces and blasted 61 winners in two hours and 42 minutes of hard-hitting action on Court Two. "I lost my focus a bit towards the end of the first set, but I knew what my gameplan was and I stuck to it. I toughed it out," Kyrgios said.

"Last year I tried to hit too many winners off his serve. This time I went to the chipped approach and it worked."

Kyrgios faces another rematch in the fourth round against Gasquet after beating the Frenchman in a dramatic five-setter in the second round last year.

"Last year I came from two sets down against him, but he is a savvy veteran and beat (Grigor) Dimitrov in straight sets today so he must be playing well. I don't fear anyone. I feel I'm playing better tennis than last year.

"I'm going to serve well and stay aggressive whoever I play. If I do that I've got a pretty good chance."

The flamboyant and fiery Kyrgios has earned a reputation as something of a malcontent after a series of rows with umpires and line judges, including shouting 'dirty scum' during one disagreement, in the first two rounds. He found himself in trouble with Wimbledon officials again on Thursday when he was told off for climbing a wall to watch compatriots Lleyton Hewitt and Thanasi Kokkinakis play doubles on a crowded court.

And it didn't take long for Kyrgios to start indulging in more colourful antics against Raonic, dropping his racquet and standing frozen to the spot with a look of mock confusion after completing missing a return of serve. Trying to stay in the first set at 5-6, Kyrgios went into meltdown with three double faults to gift the lead to Raonic.

Kyrgios earned a warning after hurling his racket early in the second set.

But the youngster gathered himself well enough to produce a brilliant cross-court forehand winner that secured his first break of the match at 5-5 and effectively sealed the set.

Waving his racquet in time with the chants of the Australian fans, Kyrgios was in the groove and he took the third set with an immaculate tie-break before a dominant fourth set sealed the win.


Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka celebrates winning a point against Spain's Fernando Verdasco during their men's singles third-round match of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, on July 3, 2015. (AFP Photo)

Wawrinka eases past Verdasco

Wawrinka continued his stealthy progress through the Wimbledon draw with another clinical victory as the Swiss dispatched Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the fourth round.

Wawrinka has not dropped a set in his three opening matches and was untroubled throughout against Verdasco.

The Spaniard, a former top 10 player, looked to be feeling the effects of two punishing five-setters in his opening rounds and came up short at key moments as Wawrinka broke once in each set to clinch victory.

The first set was evenly balanced until the decisive 10th game when Verdasco double-faulted on set point to hand the fourth seed the lead and the second set followed a familiar pattern with Wawrinka breaking for a 5-3 lead before serving out.

Verdasco bravely hung in, but the Swiss, who has never been beyond the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, broke again for a 5-4 lead in the third and finished off the match with his 14th ace.

Next up for Wawrinka will be Belgium's 16th seed David Goffin, who is also yet to drop a set in three matches and polished off Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 7-6(3) 6-1 6-1.


Richard Gasquet of France hits a backhand during his third-round men's singles match of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, on July 3, 2015. (Reuters Photo)

Gasquet dispatches struggling Dimitrov

Gasquet eased into the last 16, comfortably winning a battle of single-handed backhands against misfiring Bulgarian 11th seed Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets.

Gasquet, who had won his previous four matches against last year's Wimbledon semi-finalist, came through 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 on Centre Court to head into the second week at the All England Club for the first time since 2012.

Dimitrov was far from his best in front of a muted crowd, with his much admired backhand stuttering, and was too often outshone by what is also Gasquet's trademark shot, which left him rooted to the spot on several occasions.

The 24-year-old Bulgarian handed Gasquet a break in his first service game with a double fault and passed up chances to break back as the Frenchman settled into his stride quickly, punching shots into the corners to keep Dimitrov on the run. The theme continued, with Gasquet eventually sealing the win on his fifth match point when Dimitrov's return sank into the net.

While Dimitrov showed flashes of his talent, the defeat will do little to silence critics who have questioned whether he can make the most of his potential. He won three titles on three different surfaces in 2014 and reached the last four at Wimbledon but has drawn a blank since the turn of the year.

Gasquet, a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2007, will next face Kyrgios.

(With inputs from AFP and Reuters)

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