Nick Kyrgios ‘hit hard’ by Rafa Nadal loss as Spaniard leaves Aussie absolutely baffled

Australian Open: Kokkinakis and Kyrgios speak after win

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Nick Kyrgios has admitted his BNP Paribas Open quarter-final defeat to Rafael Nadal has ‘hit hard’ after his battling performance forced a feisty clash. Kyrgios fell to a 6-7 7-5 4-6 defeat to the former world number one at Indian Wells in a match with his fiery temper on show.

Nadal earnt his third consecutive triumph over the charismatic Aussie, who aimed his frustrations at his racket, the umpire and heckling fans throughout the affair. Kyrgios recovered from a distracted opening set to force a decider in the second, but Nadal was the one who found a breakthrough.

The Spaniard has made his best-ever start to an ATP season, winning all 19 of his matches so far, including lifting the Australian Open in January, his 21st Grand Slam title. And Krygios expressed his disappointment after the defeat, admitting he was convinced he was set to hand Nadal his first loss of the year.

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He said: “That one hit pretty hard. I felt like I was the one to end Nadal’s streak. I played well and did everything right in the first set. I had a game plan, and everything was working. I was two points from winning the set, and I do not know how he got out to win that tenth game, especially the fourth point.

“As a little kid, this is what you dream about to play these events against Nadal and the hype around it. I do not see any other matches getting this kind of hype. As soon as we matched up against each other, social media’s going nuts. I think it lived up to it.”

Nadal will look to extend his record start when he faces fellow Spaniard, 19th-seed Carlos Alcaraz Garfia in the semi-finals as he aims to move one step closer to more silverware. Garfia bettered 12th-seeded Brit Cameron Norrie in straight sets in the last eight and will be fired up for the challenge the 35-year-old poses.

The winner of Nadal and Garfia’s semi-final clash will likely be the favourite to go all the way and win the BNP Paribas Open. On the other side of the draw, seventh-seed Andrey Rublev faces 33rd-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. In today’s other quarter-final, unseeded Miomir Kecmanovic squares off against 20th-seeded American Taylor Fritz.

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