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Nick Kyrgios vs Stefanos Tsitsipas: A Wimbledon blockbuster awaits

Get the popcorn ready for Saturday night because we will be in for one of the tennis blockbusters of the year when Nick Kyrgios lines up against Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a match likely to be scheduled for Centre Court on Saturday night AEST.

Kyrgios continued his impressive grass-court form with a straight-sets thrashing of 26th seed Filip Krajinovic, not facing a single break point on serve as he hit 50 winners, of which nearly half were aces, in a match that lasted one hour and 25 minutes.

The Canberran did not lose a point on serve in the first set and his victory was never in doubt by the time he secured a double break early in the third, eventually breaking the Serb’s serve for a third time in the set on his first match point.

It was a welcome return to form for the 27-year-old after he had endured a five-set rollercoaster in his first round match against British wildcard Paul Jubb, and he will be hoping to bring more of the same when he faces Tsitsipas in the third round.

The Greek fourth seed met his end of the bargain after defeating another Aussie, Jordan Thompson, in straight sets despite having to come from 1-3 down in the second set, in which he rattled off five games in a row.

The clash between Kyrgios and Tsitsipas was always going to be anticipated when they were drawn in the same section of the draw, especially after the Australian won their most recent meeting en route to reaching the semi-finals in Halle last month.

Their section of the draw has also slightly opened up, after Canadian 13th seed Denis Shapovalov was upset in four sets by little-known American Brandon Nakashima, while Spaniard Robert Bautista Agut became the third COVID-19 casualty after being forced to withdraw.

Excluding team events such as the ATP and Laver Cups, Kyrgios has won both of their meetings on the regular ATP Tour; his other win being in the semi-finals at Washington in 2019.

Australia’s highest-ranked male player, Alex de Minaur, survived a major scare from Jack Draper to win in four sets and line up a third-round clash against another British player, this time wildcard Liam Broady.

de Minaur dropped a tightly contested first set 5-7 and stared down the barrel of going two sets to one down before sweeping through the second set tiebreak and dominating thereafter to match his 2018 result of reaching the third round.

He will now fancy his chances of reaching the quarter-finals for the first time, having been pitted in the same section as Italian eighth seed Matteo Berrettini who was forced to withdraw from the tournament on Tuesday after testing positive to COVID-19.

Second seed Rafael Nadal was again forced to endure four sets, but nevertheless defeated Ricardis Berankis to notch his 16th straight win at the Majors this year and keep alive his chances of saluting at the All England Club for the first time in twelve years.

Next for the King of Clay is 27th-seeded Italian Lorenzo Sonego.

In the women’s draw, de Minaur’s girlfriend, Katie Boulter, lit up Centre Court with an emotional come-from-behind win over last year’s beaten finalist, Karolina Pliskova, dedicating the win to her grandmother who had passed away on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old was looking to restore some joy among the locals after they had seen Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray crash out in succession on Wednesday, and she responded by recording her second win over Pliskova in as many weeks.

She also dedicated the win to de Minaur, who she described as an epitome of a fighter who never gives up in the face of adversity.

Boulter next goes on to face Harmony Tan after she backed up her huge first-round win over Serena Williams with a straight-forward win over Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo.

In other women’s results, top seed Iga Swiatek survived a major scare before seeing off Dutch lucky loser Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove in three sets, recording her 37th straight win in the process.

The last Australian remaining, Ajla Tomljanovic, saw off American qualifier Catherine Harrison to set up a third round clash against former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, with the winner to potentially face Swiatek in the fourth round.

Fourth seed Paula Badosa and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova progressed through to face each other in the third round, with straight-sets victories over Irina Bara and Ana Bogdan, respectively.

2019 champion Simona Halep sent Kirsten Flipkens into retirement with a straight-sets win, while Coco Gauff and Amanda Anisimova will face each other in an all-American clash, possibly for the right to face new local favourite Katie Boulter in the last sixteen.

But former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu was not so lucky, going down in straight sets to Elena Rybakina.

Third seed Ons Jabeur and men’s defending champion Novak Djokovic headline the Centre Court schedule for Day 5, with the former facing Diane Parry, who notably knocked out reigning champion Barbora Krejcikova in the first round at Roland Garros in May.

Djokovic is up against his countryman Miomor Kecmanovic, after which ninth seed Cameron Norrie faces American Steve Johnson.

On No.1 Court, Heather Watson will look to achieve a career-best performance at Wimbledon when she lines up against Kaja Juvan, after which Angelique Kerber and Carlos Alcaraz will feature.

Greek fifth seed Maria Sakkari is also in action on No.2 Court while American qualifier Jack Sock will be looking to finish off his suspended tie against compatriot Maxime Cressy, the former leading by two sets to love when play was called off.

Australian qualifier Jason Kubler will also attempt to finish off his match against Dennis Novak, having been within one game of victory when their tie was also suspended due to poor weather.

Matches to watch on Day 5
Centre Court – from 1:30pm (10:30pm AEST)
Diane Parry (FRA) vs [3] Ons Jabeur (TUN)
[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs [25] Miomor Kecmanovic (SRB)
[9] Cameron Norrie (GBR) vs Steve Johnson (USA)

No.1 Court – from 1:00pm (10:00pm AEST)
Heather Watson (GBR) vs Kaja Juvan (SLO)
[15] Angelique Kerber (GER) vs [24] Elise Mertens (BEL)
[32] Oscar Otte (GER) vs [5] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP)

No.2 Court – from 11:00am (8:00pm AEST)
[23] Frances Tiafoe (USA) vs Alexander Bublik (KAZ)
[5] Maria Sakkari (GRE) vs Tatjana Maria (GER)
[10] Jannik Sinner (ITA) vs [20] John Isner (USA)

No.3 Court – from 11:00am (8:00pm AEST)
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) vs [12] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT)
Jack Sock (USA) vs Maxime Cressy (USA) – to finish 6-4, 6-4
[30] Tommy Paul (USA) vs Jiri Vesely (CZE)
[33] Zhang Shuai (CHN) vs Caroline Garcia (FRA)

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