London, United Kingdom – Nick Kyrgios reached his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon on Wednesday when the controversial Australian defeated Cristian Garin of Chile in straight sets.
The world number 40 raced to a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) win and will tackle either Rafael Nadal or Taylor Fritz for a place in the final.
“I never thought I’d be in the semi-final of a Grand Slam. I thought that ship had sailed, that I may have wasted that little window in my career,” said Kyrgios.
“I am really happy I was able to come out here with my team and able to put on a performance.”
He added: “I felt I was playing on the back foot a lot. Garin’s a hell of a player. I got lucky on a couple of break points so I’ll take that and will prepare for my next match.”
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.
He went into the match under a new cloud of controversy after it emerged he faces an Australian court next month to answer an allegation of assault.
His 2022 Wimbledon has also been a rollercoaster.
Brilliant, crowd-pleasing shot-making has been accompanied by $14,000 in fines and an ugly, bitter spat with third-round rival 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.”
Former champion Simona Halep said she is playing her “best tennis” as she set up a Wimbledon semi-final clash with Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina on Wednesday.
Halep, the 2019 winner, comfortably reached her third semi-final at the All England Club with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Amanda Anisimova of the United States.
Russian-born Rybakina became the first player representing Kazakhstan to reach a Grand Slam semi-final when she defeated Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
“Definitely this is my best tennis,” said Halep, who missed last year’s Wimbledon with a calf injury.
“I am trying to build my confidence back, and it’s good.”
The Romanian 16th seed, who was also French Open champion in 2018, broke Anisimova’s serve four times in the match, wrapping up victory in just over an hour.
“It’s great to be back in the semi-finals,” said the former world number one. “I’m very emotional right now. It means a lot.”
The 30-year-old took charge early in the match on Centre Court, racing into a 5-1 lead and taking the set 6-2.
It was a similar story in the second set, with Halep again dominating and going 5-1 up with a double break.
Anisimova dug deep, earning her own break of serve when Halep served for the match but the Romanian stayed calm to serve out for the win.
“I had to stay strong on my legs – they helped me today,” said Halep, who has not dropped a set at Wimbledon this year.
“I also needed my serve – everything was good, and it finished well.”
Rybakina came from behind to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final, firing 15 aces past Tomljanovic, who had also made the last-eight in 2021.
“It is amazing. I am really happy to be into the semi-final. It was a really tough match,” said the 23-year-old Moscow-born player.
“I started a bit slow, I didn’t serve that well.
“Maybe I was nervous. She played really well and was defending really good but I just tried to focus on my serve and try to find my way and in the end I found it.”
Rybakina switched nationality in 2018. This year Russian and Belarusian players are banned from Wimbledon following the invasion of Ukraine.