Nick Kyrgios vs. Rafael Nadal: Reliving the Heart-Pounding Battle in Acapulco

Nick Kyrgios denied three match points against Rafael Nadal in Acapulco 2019

by Jovica Ilic
Nick Kyrgios vs. Rafael Nadal: Reliving the Heart-Pounding Battle in Acapulco
© Stream screenshot

Former Major finalist Nick Kyrgios misses tennis! Struggling with a knee injury, Nick has played only one match since October 2022, dropping out from the ATP ranking list and contemplating retirement if he fails to recover.

Sharing his favorite memories with his fans on Instagram, Kyrgios recalled his epic win over Rafael Nadal in Acapulco 2019. It was their sixth and one of the most memorable duels, with the Aussie defending three match points in the deciding tie break in a 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 triumph in three hours and three minutes in the second round.

Rafa was unhappy with Nick's behavior, the underarm serve and the fact that he spent almost no time between serves, leaving him unprepared for the returns.

Nick Kyrgios, Acapulco 2019© Hector Vivas / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

The crowd booed the Aussie after the last point, and the handshake between the players was anything but friendly.

While praising Kyrgios' talent and calling him the future Major contender, Nadal remarked that the Aussie lacked respect toward the crowd, his opponent and himself. Nick came to Acapulco with five matches in 2019, with his knees bothering him a lot.

However, he found his A-game in Mexico and reached the final. Nadal had a couple of chances to seal the deal. He created four break points while leading 6-3, 4-4, missing an opportunity to move closer to the finish line. Also, the Spaniard squandered five break chances at 3-2 in the final set and three match points at 6-3 in the tie break.

Kyrgios stayed composed, rattling off five points and earning a notable victory. Rafa took ten points more than his rival, but not the crucial ones. The Spaniard had 39 winners and 17 unforced errors, while the Aussie landed 58 direct points and 49 mistakes, keeping the points on his racquet.

Rafa forged the advantage in the shortest and mid-range rallies, with Nick erasing the deficit a bit in the more advanced exchanges. The Spaniard made a reliable start, dropping four points on serve in the opening set and securing a break in game six that made the difference.

Kyrgios squandered a 40-15 lead and hit a double fault after a risky serve to offer Nadal a break chance. The Aussie sprayed a volley error at the net, losing serve and falling 4-2 behind. Rafa cemented the lead with a service winner in game seven and served for the opener at 5-3.

Rafael Nadal, Acapulco 2019© Hector Vivas / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Nick Kyrgios earned a memorable win over Rafael Nadal in Acapulco 2019.

Nadal fired four winners, holding at love and forging a 6-3 lead after 34 minutes.

Nick talked with doctors during the break and continued the duel despite an evident struggle. The Aussie recovered a bit in the next 15 minutes, earning a break chance in the fourth game. The Spaniard denied it with a service winner and fired another to bring the game home and level the score at 2-2.

They served well in the upcoming games before Nadal moved closer to the finish line at 4-4. Kyrgios played a loose forehand and faced three break points. He erased them with winners and fired another from his forehand on the fourth, bringing the game home after Nadal's loose forehand and gaining confidence.

The set reached a tie break, and Nick moved 2-0 up with a forehand crosscourt winner. A forehand down the line winner sent Kyrgios further in front before forging a 5-0 advantage with a booming serve. Nick claimed the tie break 7-2, forcing a decider after an hour and 44 minutes.

Kyrgios received a medical timeout ahead of the third set and kept fighting, holding at 15 in game two. Nadal held after deuces in the third game and played better in the fifth for a 3-2 lead. The Spaniard earned a massive chance to break the rival's resistance in the sixth game, forcing the Aussie's mistake for three break chances.

Kyrgios denied them with winners and squandered two game points before facing more issues. Nadal missed the fourth break chance with a loose backhand, and Kyrgios denied the fifth with a crafty drop shot winner.

Nick Kyrgios, Acapulco 2019© Hector Vivas / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Nick held after Rafa's backhand mistake, providing a crucial hold and locking the result at 3-3.

They served well in the second part of the set, introducing a deciding tie break. Kyrgios netted a routine forehand to fall 4-2 behind, and Nadal landed a forehand volley winner for 6-3 and three match points. Nick denied the first two with winners, the second after a lucky net cord.

Rafa squandered the third after a backhand error and hit a costly double fault to find himself 7-6 behind. Nick seized his first match point when Rafa placed a backhand long, falling to the ground and celebrating one of his career-best victories.

As we already said, Nadal was furious after the duel, embracing a cold handshake and stating that Kyrgios must improve his behavior. This win stands among the most cherished ones for the Aussie, not giving up despite physical issues and a rock-solid rival across the net who missed his chances to seal the deal earlier.

Nick Kyrgios Rafael Nadal