Nadal defies injury to prepare for Wimbledon semi-final against Kyrgios

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Rafael Nadal overcame injury to beat Taylor Fritz and reach the Wimbledon semi-finals for an eighth time on Wednesday, keeping his dream of a calendar Grand Slam alive.

Trembling from an abdominal problem for which he took a medical time-out, Nadal couldn’t move like he usually does. His trademark growls of “Uhhhh!” were rare. He didn’t generate the usual zip on his serves, which went from a high of 120mph to barely above 100mph. He looked to end rallies with a quick forehand or drop shot – sometimes successfully, often not.

With much of the center court crowd noisily backing the 22-time major champion, roaring and standing after his best shots, Nadal found a way to hang on and twice erased one-set deficits against the 11th seeded Fritz, emerging with 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (10-4) victory to reach his eighth semi-final at the All England Club.

Nadal extended his unbeaten streak in Grand Slam matches in 2022 to 19-0 as he seeks to add a Wimbledon trophy to his triumphs at the Australian Open in January and then the French Open in June. . Despite all he has achieved, the 36-year-old Spaniard has never won the first three Slam titles of a season.

On Friday, Nadal will meet Nick Kyrgios, a 27-year-old Australian who will make his Grand Slam semi-final debut after a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(5) win over Chilean Cristian Garin.

Kyrgios lost the first nine points on Court One but ultimately had too much firepower for Garin, who was hoping to become Chile’s first Wimbledon semi-finalist.

By surpassing his previous best run at Wimbledon in the quarter-finals eight years ago, Kyrgios becomes the first Australian to reach a Grand Slam semi-final in 17 years.

He was a typically low-volume Kyrgios, who was summoned to a Canberra court next month on an alleged assault charge, despite lashing out at his important entourage as the game dragged on.

There was little basic fireworks from the Australian, but his serve once again supported his game, putting him out of trouble whenever Garin threatened to make a contest out of it.

Garin fought hard to extend the third set in a tiebreaker and looked set to drag the game into a fourth set when he led it 5-3, but Kyrgios fought back to win the final four points .

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

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