5 Jul 2019

Nadal needs four to get past Kyrgios

9:14 am on 5 July 2019

An audacious under-arm ace and the second-fastest serve in tennis history haven't been enough to spare Nick Kyrgios from a drama-charged second-round Wimbledon loss to Rafael Nadal.

Nick Kyrgios of Australia reacts to the fans at Wimbledon.

Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

In a gripping encounter that exceeded all the hype, Nadal avenged his stunning defeat to Kyrgios on the sport's most hallowed court five years ago with a pulsating four-set triumph.

Living up to its grudge-match-of-the year status, Nadal resisted the volatile Australian's spirited challenge with a 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3) victory in a three-hour-and-three-minute classic.

A series of verbal jousts between the two, chiefly Kyrgios's taunting of the "super salty" Spaniard and Nadal's "idiot" Uncle Toni in an explosive podcast, had dominated the build-up.

But such tasty barbs served as merely the appetiser to a spicy main course that had Wimbledon's centre court crowd - and the umpire - on the edge of their seats.

Raging after losing a challenge on his first serve in the eighth game, Kyrgios promptly smashed down an unstoppable, untouchable second serve clocked at 143mph (230kph).

Only Ivo Karlovic's 144mph (232kph) effort at the 2007 Legg Mason Classic has ever topped Kyrgios's rocket serve, according to ATP statistics.

The sport's most unpredictable talent quickly followed up with his under-arm ace, which brought a smile from even the fiercely intense Nadal.

Second seed Rofer Federer beat local wildcard Jay Clarke in straight sets, while eighth seed Kei Nishikori beat another Brit Cameron Norrie.

The highest men's seed to fall today was number 13 Marin Cilic.

In the women's draw defending champion Angelique Kerber was beaten by lucky loser Lauren Davis of the United States, while there were wins for top seed Ashley Barty, number four Kiki Bertens, number six Petra Kivitova and number nine Sloane Stephens.