London, Jun 30 (EFE).- Fourth-seeded Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas and big-serving Australian Nick Kyrgios cruised to comfortable second-round Wimbledon victories on Thursday to set up a blockbuster weekend showdown.
In other action in men’s singles, second-seeded Rafael Nadal won in four sets to remain perfect in Grand Slam events this season.
The 27-year-old Kyrgios, an extremely talented player who has been an underachiever to this point in his career, was the first of the three to reach the third round.
The Australian world No. 40 made quick work of 26th-seeded Filip Krajinovic on the No. 2 Court, using his massive first serve and sharp play on return to turn what was expected to be a highly competitive contest into a 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 rout.
Kyrgios was nearly flawless on the day, striking 24 aces and 50 overall winners, committing just 10 unforced errors and not facing a single break point.
Most impressive was his play against the first serve of Krajinovic, who won just 56 percent of those points en route to getting broken on six occasions.
“I want to remind people that I’m pretty good,” Kyrgios said afterward. “This is the tournament I circle on my calendar, which I look forward to all year. It’s the Grand Slam where I have the best opportunity.”
His third-round opponent will be Tsitsipas, who was nearly as impressive in a 6-2, 6-3, 7-5 win over 76th-ranked Australian Jordan Thompson.
The Greek star was dominant on serve throughout that match on the No. 1 Court, facing just two break points and getting broken only once.
That hiccup came early in the second set and seemed to sharpen the focus of the world No. 5, who responded by reeling off six straight games to grab a 6-2, 6-3, 1-0 lead.
Thompson was more competitive in the third set but still had no answer for Tsitsipas’ serve and went down to defeat when he was broken in the final game.
Afterward, the Greek player looked ahead to what will likely be a Centre Court battle on Saturday.
“I feel that there isn’t a single person here who doesn’t know Nick. We have played each other and had great matches against each other in many tour-level matches,” Tsitsipas said.
“I have great respect for his game, that he can utilize his talents. Really fight when he really wants to. It is going to be a challenging one on grass. He is a big opponent on this surface.”
Nadal squared off against Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis in Thursday’s lone men’s match on Centre Court and struggled a bit more than expected in a 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory.
The Spaniard was unable to break his opponent’s serve until the final game of the first set and then had to rally from a 3-1 deficit to clinch the second set.
In the third set, Berankis jumped out to an early lead once again and on that occasion was able to hold on and cut Nadal’s lead to two sets to one.
But the winner of a record 22 Grand Slam men’s singles titles, including this year’s Australian Open and Roland Garros, shifted into a higher gear at the start of the fourth set and wrapped up the victory in just over three hours.
“Every day is a challenge, that’s the truth. All the opponents are difficult. We are playing against the best players of the world,” Nadal, who missed last year’s Wimbledon, said afterward. “I didn’t play much on grass for the past three years. Every day is an opportunity to improve and today I’m through, so that gives me the chance to keep going. Very happy for that.”
Nadal will next square off in Saturday third-round action against 27th-seeded Italian Lorenzo Sonego, who moved through with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 6-4 victory over Frenchman Hugo Gaston. EFE