Rafael Nadal was on Centre Court but all eyes were on Nick Kyrgios who was in another battle with Stefanos Tsitsipas on Court 1 at Wimbledon.
Kyrgios had beaten Tsitsipas last month in Halle in three sets and this match was just as tight.
Krygios was up to his usual antics drawing a verbal abuse warning early in the match. Tsitsipas would be too sturdy and grab the opener in a well-played breaker.
But things changed as Kyrgios broke Tsitsipas to take the second level the match. A disappointed Tsitsipas whacked a ball into the stands that appeared to just miss a ducking spectator. Kyrgios saw it and demanded that Tsitsipas be defaulted.
The Australian wouldn’t let it go, arguing with chair umpire Damien Dumusois every chance he got. The supervisor Andreas Egli came out. Tsitsipas was apparently given a warning, but Kyrgios’s constant call for justice had to get under the Greek’s skin, and he dropped serve again and Kyrgios would go up two sets one.
In the fourth, the Australian recovered from a scary slip in which he looked to injure his right hip. But was okay.
Neither could do much on break points — Kyrgios finished 2-for-14, Tsitsipas 0-for-5 — and after a 4-all roof closure, to a breaker we went.
Tsitsipas would save a match point then Kyrgios would save a set point. But in the end, Kyrgios handled the chaos of the moment better for a 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(7) win in 3 hours, 17 minutes.
Tsitsipas would admit he tried to hit Kyrgios a couple times on balls.
“I don’t think there has been a single match I have played with him that he was behaving that way. There comes a point where you really get tired of it, let’s say,” Tsitsipas said after.
“The constant talking, the constant complaining,” he added. “We are there to play tennis. We are not there to have conversations and dialogues with other people.
“It’s constant bullying. He bullies his opponents. He was probably a bully in school, too. I don’t like bullies. He has some qualities, but he has a very evil side to him.”
Kyrgios was having none of it.
“I’m not sure how I was able to bully someone in the third round of Wimbledon. I was just playing tennis,” Kyrgios responded.
“I would be pretty upset if I lost to someone two weeks in a row, as well. Maybe he should figure out how to beat me!”
Kyrgios went on to say his behavior was fine.
“The circus was all him today,” Kyrgios said.
“I’m one of the most liked players in the locker room. He’s not liked,” he added. “He has some serious issues.”
As Kyrgios-Tsitsipas was happening, Nadal was rolling past Lorenzo Sonego until the roof closed with the Italian down two sets and 4-2. Sonego would break back after which Nadal called his opponent for a chat asking him to tone down the grunting. Nadal would win the last two games to earn his 17th Slam match win of the year 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
“It was probably my best match without a doubt here at The Championships against the most difficult player I have faced yet,” Nadal said. “I was able to raise my level, so I am super happy for that. I wish Lorenzo all the very best for the rest of the season.”
The 2-time Wimbledon champion would later admit in press he was wrong to confront Sonego about an issue that was up to the umpire.
“I was wrong. Probably, I should not have called him on the net. So, apologize for that. My mistake on that. No problem to recognize that,” Nadal said.
About the only other drama on the day was Jason Kubler coming from two sets to one down to defeat Jack Sock 6-2, 4-6, 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3 in a battle of qualifiers.
Kubler will now face Taylor Fritz who cruised past Alex Molcan.
Nadal will not get a second straight match in a Slam against Botic Van De Zandschulp who won in four sets over former semifinalist Richard Gasquet.
Next for Kyrgios will be hte level-headed and calm 20-year-old Brandon Nakashima who won 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 over Daniel Elahi Galan. And Alex De Minaur and Cristian Garin set a fourth round meeting Monday.
Tomorrow, the fourth round begins win Novak Djokovic returning to Centre Court to face Den Bosch winner Tim Van Rijthoven. Earlier, though, the youngsters Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner collide in a super showdown of two of the best NextGen stars.
Alcaraz won their only meeting at the Paris Indoors last year.
SUNDAY WIMBLEDON SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT – 1:30PM
1. Heather Watson v Jule Niemeier
2. Jannik Sinner v Carlos Alcaraz
3. Novak Djokovic v Tim Van Rijthoven
NO.1 COURT – 1:00PM
1. Tatjana Maria v Jelena Ostapenko
2. Cameron Norrie v Tommy Paul
3. Elise Mertens v Ons Jabeur
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