Last month’s championship winners at Roland Garros were bundled out of their fourth round matches at Wimbledon on Tuesday. While Rafael Nadal fell to Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios, who played the biggest match of his tennis career, 2004 champion Maria Sharapova lost to Germany’s ninth seed Angelique Kerber in three sets. In other matches on Tuesday, Roger Federer brushed aside a challenge by Spain’s Tommy Robredo in an easy straight sets victory to enter the quarterfinal. Federer’s compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka also sailed into the quarterfinal, when he beat another Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in a tough contest. Among women, third seeded Simona Halep of Romania appeared on course in outplaying Zarina Diyaz of Kazakhstan and reaching the quarterfinals. On an action-packed day, two Czech women reached the semifinals after their straight sets victories. While 23rd seed Lucie Safarova beat 22nd seed Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, 6th seeded Petra Kvitova stopped a great run of her compatriot Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.
World no.1 Rafael Nadal had no inkling of the shape of things to come, when he took on Australia’s 19-year old Nick Kyrgios at the center court on Tuesday. Nadal has won most of his matches in this year’s Wimbledon after dropping a set and therefore no one was concerned, when the no.2 seed lost the first set tie-break to Kyrgios. And since Nadal came back to win the second 7-5, the match appeared to be progressing as a routine affair. With set score level, Nadal looked in control for most part of the third set but Kyrgios matched Nadal point for point and forced another tie-break. Those, who watched the match, saw the teenager play the tie-break without any outward show of emotions. Keeping his shots under control, Kyrgios forced an error from the French open champion, who couldn’t deal with the Australian’s superbly controlled cross-court return. Leading two sets to one, Kyrgios was businesslike in breaking Nadal early to create a 3-2 lead in the fourth set. Afterwards, he kept holding his serve and avoiding any break-backs. That one break was enough for Kyrgios, who sealed out his famous victory with an ace and shocked the world no.1 with the match score of 7-6, 5-7, 7-6, 6-3. It was ironical that Nadal was broken just once in the entire match and he still lost because the Australian teenager never became inconsistent with his game. The most important aspect of Kyrgios’ victory was his superb temperament and unwavering focus. Kyrgios, a wildcard entrant ranked 144th in the world will now take on the Canadian eighth seed Milos Raonic for a place in the semifinals.
The other shock news on Tuesday was Maria Sharapova’s loss to Angelique Kerber in the fourth round. As a 17-year old, Sharapova had caused waves in the women’s tennis circuit in 2004, when she lifted the coveted trophy. But since then, Sharapova has failed to record another championship victory, though she had a great chance this year with most women top seeds, except Simona Halep, having made early exits.
Sharapova began ominously by losing her opening service game but the Russian didn’t give up easily. She broke the German’s serve and took the set to tie-break. Kerber held her nerves against the Russian and took the tie-break 7-5. Sharapova came back in the match by breaking Kerber straightaway as the second set got underway. But the German broke right back to level things up. Showing some of her old touch, Sharapova again clinched a crucial break in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead and held her serve to take the second set 6-4. In the final set, Sharapova lost her rhythm yet again and allowed Kerber to race away to an invincible 5-2 lead. But Sharapova did her best to come back by securing a break on Kerber’s service. The momentum, however, didn’t last long and pretty soon Kerber earned three match points against her opponent. But Sharapova saved all those points in trying a desperate survival bid. But on her seventh match point Kerber closed the set and finished her victory with the score of 7-6, 4-6, 6-4.
While the news of unexpected loss of Nadal and Sharapova dominated the day, Roger Federer entered the quarter final by beating Spain’s Tommy Robredo 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 to set up a clash with compatriot Stan Wawrinka, who overcame a challenge by Feliciano Lopez before finally beating the Spaniard 7-6, 7-6, 6-3. Women’s third seed, Simona Halep of Romania looked in great form in easily defeating Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyaz 6-3, 6-0 to book her place in the quarterfinals. However, two women from the Czech Republic are already in the last four. 23rd seed Lucie Safarova scored an easy 6-3, 6-1 victory over Russian Ekaterina Makarova and in a match between two Czech women, 6th seeded Petra Kvitova disposed of the dreaded Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, 6-1, 7-5.