Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios have met nine times on the Tour. The Spaniard leads 6-3, and they have had some thrilling battles that went down to the wire, like their most recent duel in Indian Wells. The Spaniard needed nine and a half hours to score victories over the Aussie in the last three encounters, and Nick did his best to stay calm during those encounters and keep his tantrums under the surface.
That was not the case during their sixth meeting in Acapulco 2019. Kyrgios fended off three match points in a 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 triumph over Nadal in three hours and three minutes. Heading to Acapulco with troubled knees and just five matches on his tally in 2019, Nick found some extra gear to score two wins and reach the quarters.
Rafa had the encounter in his hands twice, but he wasted his opportunities and experienced an early loss. Leading 6-3, 4-4, Nadal squandered four break chances that could have pushed him closer to the finish line. The Spaniard wasted no less than five break points at 3-2 in the decider.
Also, he failed to convert three match points at 6-3 in the tie break, dropping the last five points to propel Nick into the last eight. Rafa was not pleased with Nick's behavior, the underarm serve, and the fact that he spent 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. 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.
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.
Rafael Nadal wasted three match points against Nick Kyrgios in Acapulco 2019.
Fighting for every point, the Aussie fired four winners to repel break chances at 4-4 in the second set and stay in the match.
Kyrgios built momentum and claimed the tie break 7-2 after early mini-breaks. Rafa sailed through his service games in the final set, although it was not to be for him. The Spaniard wasted no less than five break chances in the sixth game (Nick saved four with winners) before creating those three match points in the tie break after a volley winner.
Nick denied the first two with direct points, and the Spaniard squandered a significant chance on the third to keep the opponent in the match. In the worst moment, Nadal hit a double fault to fall 7-6 behind. Kyrgios sealed the deal in the 14th point when Nadal's backhand landed long, celebrating one of the biggest wins of his career and advancing into the last eight.
"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.
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