Queen’s | Kyrgios in menacing form
Nick Kyrgios blasted his way past the Queen’s defending champion in such a manner that the odds on the controversial Australian winning the Fever Tree Championships are getting shorter by the minute.
He hammered 32 aces past Feliciano Lopez to establish a new ATP record for a two-set match having hit a similar number the previous day in a three-setter as he hones his preparations for Wimbledon in just over a week’s time.
For me I feel like I can’t miss the same serve twice so I go for it. If I make it I make it, if I miss it I miss it Nick Kyrgios
He beat Lopez 7-6(5) 7-6(3) in what proved an intriguing quarter-final encounter, declaring menacingly after his victory “I can serve better” as he set his sights on The Championships and douses any fears that he might be carrying an injury.
The top seed Marin Cilic, a former Queen’s champion, is next up to face the mighty serving by the man from Canberra in what could turn out to be a match dominated by that one shot.
The Croat beat another former Queen’s champion, Sam Querrey 7-6(3) 6-2. His meeting with Kyrgios will their third encounter, the pair having shared the spoils in their two previous clashes.
“I’m always looking to improve my game,” Kyrgios said. “Obviously I think serving was one part of my game that didn’t have much improvement [left]. Obviously I was wrong.
“I still think I can serve better. There were some periods [against Lopez] where I missed a lot of first serves in a row. It’s easy to have 32 aces and just walk away … it’s a lot of free points, which is good on the grass.”
Kyrgios is currently ranked No. 21 in the world and could rise to a career-high No. 12 if he clinches the prestigious Queen’s Club title to improve his Wimbledon seeding and give him a better chance of getting past the fourth round at a grand slam for the first time.
Kyrgios is now a part of a select group of players to have beaten all members of men’s tennis’ ‘Big Four’ of Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
“For me I feel like I can’t miss the same serve twice so I go for it. If I make it I make it, if I miss it I miss it,” Kyrgios told reporters after progressing into the last four.
“The grass, it helps me a lot. It favours the big servers. I grew up on this surface so I feel very comfortable on it.
“My serve’s been like this ever since I was a little kid. It was my best shot. I always based my game around it.
“It was one shot where I didn’t really practice much at all. I would hit maybe 10 or 15 serves a day, would just relax and hit it hard.
“I used to just throw the ball up and hit it as hard as I could. I guess just one day it started winning me easy points. I was, like, this is better than running, and that’s it.”
Meanwhile in the bottom half of the draw, Novak Djokovic became the 10th player in the Open Era to reach the 800 win mark after cruising past Adrian Mannarino 7-5 6-1 in the their quarter-final match.
“There were times when I was thinking and questioning everything when I was injured and going through surgery process, but, you know, everyone has those moments,” Djokovic said.
“Everyone has doubtful moments. So that’s life. Life comes in cycles and teaches you lessons. Whether you’re going to learn them or not, it solely depends on you.
“As I said, I don’t like to put any numbers on how long and when it’s going to end. I would rather say ‘hey, I’m playing great, back again’.
“I’m 31 on the paper, but I’m 19 in the real sense. I just love to keep on going and see where it takes me.”
In the semi-finals, Djokovic will take on Jeremy Chardy who eased past the 20-year-old American Frances Tiafoe 6-4 6-4.
Djokovic leads Chardy 10-0 but the Frenchman has won 12 of his last 13 matches on grass including the Surbiton Challenger.