Somewhere on a Majorcan beach Rafael Nadal is nodding sagely. He suspected the storm might blow itself out and on the show court next door, 24 hours after running through the world No 1 on Centre Court, Nick Kyrgios was on the wrong end of the drama.
The relative inexperience of a 19-year-old boy ranked 144 in the world riding a wild card for all its worth finally met with the appropriate response. There is no blowing Milos Raonic off court, a man with weapons every bit as potent as those deployed by Kyrgios and more besides.
The eighth seed from Canada sent down 39 aces, five on the second serve, en route to a 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 victory. We are sad to see Kyrgios go, of course, though a month ago, when he was losing in the first round of a Challenger event in Nottingham, he could not have dreamt of going out in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.
And he made Raonic, the first Canadian male to reach a Grand Slam semi-final in more than a century, work for his victory, saving three match points in the fourth set tie-break before finally laying down his racket.
There were moments when Kyrgios reprised the exuberance of his big night, particularly in taking the first set on a tie-break. The two-handed salute on the closer points was a favourite. The intimacy of these courts lends itself to the showman and in Kyrgios the game has unearthed an exemplar of the breed. Sadly for him, there would be too few opportunities to bask thereafter. A net cord at the critical moment in the fifth game of the second set allowed Raonic to convert a break point. By such small margins are gains made. Kyrgios lost concentration, his game dropped a level and the set was gone.
His rally in the fourth when lesser beings might have called it a day suggests a big future still beckons. The scalp of Richard Gasquet, against whom he saved nine match points, as well as Nadal’s, tells us he is no flash in the pan.
But it is Raonic who advances to meet Roger Federer in the semis, a coup for Canada after Eugenie Bouchard booked her place in the last four of the women’s singles. “I just have to keep doing what I’m doing,” said Raonic. “I’m playing well, serving well. It’s a great opportunity against a great champion.”Reuse content