LONDON(Reuters) - Nick Kyrgios was grateful for advice from a fan wearing a Batman T-shirt as he produced a brutal serving display to bludgeon his way past Canadian seventh seed Milos Raonic at Wimbledon on Friday.
Raonic beat the 26th-seeded Australian in last year’s quarter-finals but there was no such repeat in a hard-hitting match on a sun-kissed Court Two, Kyrgios winning 5-7 7-5 7-6 (3) 6-3 in a third-round match lasting two hours and 43 minutes.
Kyrgios fired 34 aces past the Canadian and the 20-year-old acknowledged the words of wisdom from a spectator.“He was just a fan. I thought he was key in the match,” Kyrgios told reporters. “He was actually saying some really good things at crucial moments.
“Before I was serving, he always said something like, ‘send down a bullet’, or something like that. At that stage I‘m thinking,‘let’s try to make it a really good first serve here’.”
Hot-head Kyrgios has courted controversy in the tournament, denying calling an official “dirty scum” during his first match before suggesting an official in the second round thought “he was a big dog”.
Kyrgios lost his cool in the second set against Raonic and received a warning from the umpire after slamming his racket to the floor before retrieving it from a fan who had caught it in the crowd.
“I threw it face down, it bounced over the fence. That’s what happened,” Kyrgios said. “I don’t want to hurt anyone. It was a good catch by the fan anyway.”
The fiery Australian was soon punching the air with joy after taking the second set before keeping his composure to clinch the third in a tiebreak. Krygios wore the big-serving Raonic down in the fourth set, breaking the Canadian in the eighth game before holding serve to set up a fourth-round clash with Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
Kyrgios saved nine match points before beating Gasquet in a five-set thriller that lasted three hours and 53 minutes at Wimbledon last year and the young Australian is expecting another tough encounter with the wily Frenchman. “Serving is key,” Kyrgios said. “He’s going to make a lot more returns. He’s going to obviously play solid from the ground. He’s a magician from back there.”
Editing by Ed Osmond