Ashleigh Barty continues her Wimbledon campaign with victory over Alison van Uytvanck

Five years ago, of course, he stunned the Spaniard here in the win that announced him to the world and the 24-year-old came into Thursday's game with a 3-3 career head-to-head record.

Living up to its grudge-match-of-the year status, Nadal resisted the volatile Australian's spirited challenge with a 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3) victory in a three-hour-and-three-minute classic.

"Not sure that me and Rafa could go down to the Dog and Fox and have a beer together", Kyrgios said, having declared Nadal a "super salty" loser in a podcast during May and also called his Uncle Toni an "idiot".

It is a match made for a partisan Centre Court crowd but Barty is not worrying about that.

Only Ivo Karlovic's 144mph effort at the 2007 Legg Mason Classic has topped it, according to ATP statistics.

The fourth went the same way and, unfortunately for Kyrgios, had the same result, the Australian failing to recover after horribly miscuing a simple volley on the first point of the tie-break.

Kyrgios, as always, strolled out with his Beats headphones on. Irritated at the time Nadal was taking between points, Kyrgios took his annoyance out on Damien Dumusois, the unlucky man in the chair, asking him why he wasn't doing anything about it.

And he didn't disgrace himself one iota in shocking the tennis world by claiming the opening set - on Centre Court - 6-3. Nadal was also leading the sixth round of the first set 40/0 when Kyrgios, who was serving, surprised everyone with an underarm serve.

There are a wealth of sub-plots to the match, mainly down to the war of words that have broken out between the outspoken Kyrgios and Nadal's camp in recent months. "I just don't know him very well", Kyrgios said of his second-round opponent at Wimbledon.

"It certainly wasn't a passing shot, was it?"

The pair have already delivered once this year, when Kyrgios prevailed in a blockbuster showdown at the Mexican Open.

Tomic lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 on Tuesday.

"He was a tough opponent".

The talented Aussie has an interesting relationship and history with Nadal, dating back to Wimbledon 2014, where he sprung on the scene defeating the then world number one Nadal, and will look forward to renew the rivalry in the second round here again.

"Going into this match, he's one of the greatest tennis players of all time", Kyrgios was quoted as saying by The Guardian.

  • Julie Sanders


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