Facing each other for the sixth time in Acapulco 2019, Nick Kyrgios defeated world no. 2 Rafael Nadal for the third time following a thrilling 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 triumph. The encounter lasted three hours and three minutes, and the Aussie saved three match points in the deciding tie break to show Rafa the exit door and advance into the next round!
Heading to Acapulco with troubled knees and just five matches on his tally that year, Nick found some extra gear to reach the quarters, prevailing despite Rafa having everything in his hands twice. Leading 6-3, 4-4, the former Acapulco champion wasted four break chances that could have pushed him closer to the finish line.
The Spaniard squandered no less than five break points at 3-2 in the decider and extra three match points at 6-3 in the tie break, dropping the last five points to propel Nick through. Rafa had 39 winners and 17 unforced errors while Kyrgios counted to 58-49, firing bullets from his serve and forehand to keep points on his racquet and forge the victory against all odds.
Nadal lost just four points on serve in the opening set and brought it home with a break in game six after Nick's poor volley. Four winners at 5-3 were enough to send Nadal in front after 34 minutes, and he had those chances in the second set's ninth game when Kyrgios faced elimination.
Fighting for every point, the Aussie fired four winners to repel break chances and stay alive, building momentum and winning the tie break 7-2 after early mini-breaks, which would prove crucial for the final result. Rafa sailed through his service games in the last set and faced a single break point in the entire match, although it was not to be for him.
Rafael Nadal wasted three match points against Nick Kyrgios in Acapulco 2019.
In the sixth game, the Spaniard squandered no less than five break chances (Nick saved four with winners) before creating those three match points in the tie break after a volley winner.
Nick saved the first two with direct points, and the Spaniard blew a significant chance on the third, keeping the opponent in the match and hitting a double fault in the worst moment to fall 7-6 behind. Kyrgios sealed the deal in the 14th point when Nadal's backhand landed long and celebrated one of the most significant wins of his career.
Rafa was not pleased with Nick's behavior, the underarm serve, and the fact that he spends almost no time between serves, leaving him unprepared for the returns. The crowd booed the Aussie after the last point, and the handshake between the players was anything but friendly.
"Nick is a player who has enormous talent and could be winning Majors or fighting for the ATP throne. He lacks respect for the crowd, his opponent and himself, though. I don't think he is a bad guy, but he lacks a little respect for the public and the rival," Rafael Nadal said.