Nick Kyrgios was the talk of the Mutua Madrd Open on Wednesday when the Kid ‘n Play-coiffed Aussie unleashed his huge game while holding his nerve to upset top-seeded Roger Federer 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 7-6(12) on the red clay.
“I was definitely thinking about the finish line, which is probably not the greatest thing, especially against Federer,” said the 20 year old who saved two match points in the final tiebreak. “He’s going to take advantage of that. But I thought as I was saving match points and he was saving match points, that I just had to go through [my] routine and pick a spot on [my] return, and try and do whatever you can.”
Federer himself saved five match points in the final tiebreak before hitting a forehand wide to end it.
“Before the match I didn’t feel nervous or anything like that,” Kyrgios said. “I was just excited to get out to the court. I’ve been playing well recently on the clay, so I knew I had a good chance to go out there and do well. I stuck to my game and served well and I got the win.”
Federer said the Kyrgios delivery on serve was the difference maker.
“My problem was I couldn’t return his first serve,” the Swiss said. “Was just a horrible performance on the return. As the match went on it got so bad that I just couldn’t get into decent positions on the return, so it made it very difficult to get any sort of rhythm after that. But credit to him for serving well and keep doing what he was doing. But I’m very disappointed by that. That’s what cost me the match, in my opinion.”
Other upsets on the day included Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco downing No. 9 Marin Cilic 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 6-3; Leo Mayer ousting No. 11 Feliciano Lopez 7-6(3), 7-6(6); and Marcel Granollers outlasting No. 13 Gael Monfils 7-6(6), 6-7(7), 6-4.
No. 2 seed Andy Murray led the Top 10 winners by defeating Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 3-6, 6-0, and No. 3 seed Rafael Nadal brushed past American Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-3.
“I went out there to do a simple game with no complications,” said Nadal, who returned to his old Babolat frame in an effort to find some comfort. “I tried to play easily. I know how things work out when you come from losing a couple of matches…I tried to start from the bottom and just go up…I know things are going to work out. I haven’t lost my game. I just need to build my confidence and it’ll work out. I know that either sooner or later it will come back. That’s what I want to think. I’m convinced about it. It’s matter of time. Let’s see when it happens.”
Other Top 10 winners were No. 4 Kei Nishikori over David Goffin 6-2, 4-6, 6-4; No. 7 David Ferrer over Al Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 6-0; No. 6 Tomas Berdych edging Richard Gasquet 7-6(3), 7-5; and No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov grinding by Fabio Fognini 3-6, 6-2, 7-5.
Ferrer will next meet his Spanish countryman Hot Sauce.
American fortunes were mixed as No. 16 seed John Isner beat Thomaz Bellucci 6-1 in the third, while San Querrey lost to No. 14 Roberto Bautista Agut in straights, and Jack Sock lost a third-set tiebreak heartbreaker to No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
On the women’s side, former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka served for the match against current No. 1 Serena Williams, but a nervous rash of double faults saw the younger Williams sister win a 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(1) marathon to move into the quarterfinals.
Azarenka, out with injury for much of 2014, blew a 5-1 lead in the first set tiebreak before serving for the match at 6-5, 40-0 in the final set.
“She’s absolutely on her way back,” Serena said after the escape. “It’s so good to see a Grand Slam champion like her playing so well. I’m always rooting for her when she plays.”
Though probably not in that match. The win extended Williams’ winning streak to 26 matches dating to last year.
“I think overall it was a great match,” Azarenka said. “I think the one negative part I can take about today is the result — overall I felt like I played a pretty high level, I was there on every point. It just didn’t go my way in the end, but overall I should take more positives out of today.”
Williams will next face No. 10 seed Carla Suarez Navarro after the Spaniard topped former No. 1 and No. 7 seed Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 1-6, 6-4.
Two former No. 1s will meet in the quarterfinals after No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki rolled past friend and No. 9 seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 6-2, and No. 3 Maria Sharapova persevered through a tough 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 meeting with French riser Caroline Garcia.
No. 4 Petra Kvitova will next meet Irina-Camelia Begu after Kvitova handled Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 6-4, and the unseeded Romanian beat Czech Barbora Strycova 6-4, 6-4.
No. 13 seed Lucie Safarova was a 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-0 winner against Italy’s Roberta Vinci, and will next face Svetlana Kuznetsova, who edged Samantha Stosur 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(5) in the late match.
Thursday’s horn of plenty in Madrid will feature:
 Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) vs.  Maria Sharapova (RUS)
 Serena Williams (USA) vs.  Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP)
 Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. Simone Bolelli (ITA)
 David Ferrer (ESP) vs. Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
 Roberto Bautista Agut vs.  Kei Nishikori (JPN)
 Milos Raonic (CAN) vs. Leonardo Mayer (ARG)
 Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs.  Stan Wawrinka (SUI)
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) vs.  Lucie Safarova (CZE)
 Petra Kvitova (CZE) vs. Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU)
[WC] Marcel Granollers (ESP) vs.  Andy Murray (GBR)
 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs.  Tomas Berdych (CZE)
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) vs.  John Isner (USA)
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