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Nadal, Sharapova fall at Wimbledon

LONDON — Rafael Nadal ran out of comebacks at Wimbledon, losing to a brash, big-serving, between-the-legs-hitting 19-year-old who might just be a future star.

Maria Sharapova, somehow, seemed on the verge of a turnaround despite a flurry of unforced errors, saving six match points before finally succumbing on the seventh with — what else? — a missed shot.

And in the most striking sight of a memorable day of departures by past Wimbledon champions, Serena Williams couldn't get the ball over the net in a doubles match with her sister Venus, stopping after three games because of what was called a viral illness.

All in all, Tuesday was chock-full of significant events, and the most noteworthy winner had to be 144th-ranked Nick Kyrgios of Australia, who used 37 aces and a have-no-fear approach to beat Nadal 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 for a quarterfinal berth.

"I was in a bit of a zone out there," said Kyrgios, the lowest-ranked player to beat the No. 1 man at any Grand Slam tournament in 22 years.

"You've got to believe you can win the match from the very start, and I definitely thought that," the 6-foot-4 Kyrgios said. "I'm playing some unbelievable tennis on the grass."

That's for sure.

Playing in only his fifth major tournament — he got into the field thanks to a wild-card invitation — Kyrgios (pronounced KEER-ee-os) is the first man to reach the quarterfinals in his Wimbledon debut in 10 years. He's also the first teen to defeat the top-ranked man at a Slam since Nadal was 19 when he beat Roger Federer at the 2005 French Open.

"We keep saying, 'Who's the next guy?' And I think we may have found him," seven-time major champion John McEnroe said on the BBC broadcast.

Nadal dropped the first set in each of his previous three matches before coming back to win. When he took the second set Tuesday, though, Kyrgios stayed steady.

"Kyrgios is young; he has nothing to lose," said Nadal's uncle and coach, Toni "It's like when Boris Becker won here. He was 17 and had a very good serve. He could beat everyone because of his serve. It's the same with Kyrgios. He plays aggressively and without any doubts."

For Nadal, who won Wimbledon in 2008 and 2010, it was yet another early exit at the grasscourt tournament against a much-lower-ranked opponent. In 2012, he lost in the second round against No. 100 Lukas Rosol. Last year, he was beaten in the first round by No. 135 Steve Darcis. Neither of those players is considered an up-and-coming contender like Kyrgios is, but the common thread among the trio was going for broke.

"The thing is, (on) this surface, when you have an opponent that decides to serve and to hit every ball very strong, you are in trouble," Nadal said.

Kyrgios, who saved nine match points while beating 13th-seeded Richard Gasquet in the second round, showed zero hint of nerves. Indeed, he soaked up all the attention and adoration offered by the Centre Court crowd, particularly after an audacious trick shot: Facing the net at the baseline, he whipped his racket around his back and casually flicked a shot that sailed between his legs and over the net for a winner.

He joked about reading that his mother said she didn't think he could beat Nadal.

"It actually made me a bit angry," Kyrgios said, then noted: "I'll just text her a smiley face."

Today, he faces No. 8 Milos Raonic, another man never before this far at Wimbledon.

No. 9 Angelique Kerber edged Sharapova 7-6 (6-4), 4-6, 6-4. Sharapova made 49 unforced errors, 38 more than the 26-year-old German. Still, the 2004 champion saved one match point at 5-2 in the final set, then five more at 5-4, before pushing a backhand long to end it.

"I felt like I worked too hard within the match to let it go the easy way. So I did everything I could in the end to try to save those," Sharapova said. "I did, but I didn't save the last one."

In other men's fourth-round matches, No. 4 Federer beat No. 23 Tommy Robredo 6-1, 6-4, 6-4; No. 5 Stan Wawrinka beat No. 19 Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (9-7), 6-3; and Raonic beat No. 10 Kei Nishikori 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3.

In women's fourth-round matches, No. 3 Simona Halep beat Zarina Diyas 6-3, 6-0, and No. 19 Sabine Lisicki beat Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. In quarterfinal matches, No. 23 Lucie Safarova beat No. 22 Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-1, and No. 6 Petra Kvitova beat Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-1, 7-5.

It was clear something was wrong with Serena Williams from the moment she began trying to warm up for her doubles match. She weakly pushed volleys into the net from a couple of feet away. She whiffed on practice strokes. She even had trouble with the simple task of collecting tennis balls from the ball kids.

After Williams was examined for about 10 minutes on the sideline by medical staff, including a check of her blood pressure, the match began. After three games, though, an out-of-sorts Williams and her sister Venus stopped. The tournament referee's office and WTA later said Serena, who lost in singles Saturday, had a viral illness. "I am heartbroken I'm not able to continue in the tournament," Serena said in a statement. "I thought I could rally this morning because I really wanted to compete, but this bug just got the best of me."

round of 16 Quarters Semis Final Semis quarters Round of 16
N. Djokovic (1) Djokovic S. Wawrinka (5)
J-W Tsonga (14) F. Lopez (19)
Today Today
J. Chardy T. Robredo (23)
Cilic Federer
M. Cilic (26) R. Federer (4)
Friday 9 a.m. Sunday, ESPN Friday
A. Murray (3) M. Raonic (8)
Murray Raonic
K. Anderson (20) K. Nishikori (10)
Today Today
G. Dimitrov (11) N. Kyrgios
Dimitrov Kyrgios
L. Mayer R. Nadal (2)

Round of 16 Quarters Semis Final Semis Quarters Round of 16
A. Cornet (25) T. Smitkova
Bouchard Safarova
E. Bouchard (13) L. Safarova (23)
Today Safarova
A. Kerber (9) E. Makarova (22)
Kerber Makarova
M. Sharapova (5) A. Radwanska (4)
Thursday 9 a.m. Saturday, ESPN Thursday
S. Halep (3) P. Kvitova (6)
Halep Kvitova
Z. Diyas S. Peng
Today Kvitova
S. Lisicki (19) C. Wozniacki (16)
Lisicki Z. Strycova
Y. Shvedova B. Zahlavova Strycova


Key matches

Men: Andy Murray (3) vs. Grigor Dimitrov (11), Stan Wawrinka (5) vs. Roger Federer (4), Novak Djokovic (1), vs. Marin Cilic (26), Milos Raonic (8) vs. Nick Kyrgios

Women: Simona Halep (3) vs. Sabine Lisicki (19), Eugenie Bouchard (13) vs. Angelique Kerber (9)

TV: 8 a.m. ESPN and ESPN2

Nadal, Sharapova fall at Wimbledon 07/01/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 10:30pm]
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