From Nick Kyrgios serving underarm to complaining to the chair umpire multiple times about Rafael Nadal being not ready to receive his serve when he is already in his motion of serve to the Australian admitting after the match regarding his act of intentionally trying to hit the Spaniard, the pulsating, thrilling second round encounter between the two-time Wimbledon champion Nadal and the highly volatile Kyrgios didn’t disappoint us, offering plenty of drama for the huge crowd in attendance at the Centre Court as part of Wimbledon 2019.
After three hours and four minutes, the Spaniard edged past a spirited Kyrgios in four dramatic sets 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(7-5), 7-6(7-3) to advance to the third round of the Championships and will meet the veteran Frenchman, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who is reputed as a giant-killer in their upcoming Round of 32 clash at the All England Club.
While Nadal dropped a set against his Australian opponent in his second round clash, Tsonga is yet to drop a set at this year’s Wimbledon and marched on to his third round following an impressive straight-sets victories over Bernard Tomic and Ricardas Berankis in his opening couple of rounds.
In their head to head record, the duo have faced each other on 12 occasions in the past and Nadal leads their duel by a margin of 8-4. However, Nadal and Tsonga haven’t met each other since their semi-final tussle at Shanghai, back in 2015 and it was the upbeat Frenchman who outlasted Nadal back then.
In their only meeting on grass so far, Tsonga got better of the Spaniard in their quarter-final clash at the Queen’s Club Championships 6-7, 6-4, 6-1, way back in 2011. At the Grand Slams, Nadal and Tsonga are tied at one apiece with Nadal winning their battle at the 2007 US Open while the Spaniard was stunned in straight sets by Tsonga in the following slam at the Australian Open of 2008 in their semi-final clash.
After being placed in a tough draw, the Spaniard has to maneuver his way to his potential shot at the title through a series of tricky opponents and just as Kyrgios did, one can expect the veteran Frenchman to offer a stern challenge to the upbeat Spaniard.
In such circumstances, the 18-time Grand Slam champion would look forward to live each day at a time and can turn to his triumph at the same event in 2010 for some inspiration when he came through a series of tricky and resurgent opponents en route his path towards glory at the All England Club.
On the other hand, throughout his career, Tsonga has never been really able to offer proper justice to the enormous talent he has got and baring a few staggering wins over the top-ranked players, his indifferent form and inconsistencies in his game have dominated the story of his career.
However, if there was anyone in the current circuit who has surprised and stunned the top players on a relatively regular basis on the grandest of stages in the past, it has to be the veteran Frenchman, Tsonga.
In his career so far, while Tsonga has managed to reach the finals of the Majors just once when he made a remarkable appearance in the final down under in 2008, the Frenchman has made it to the last four twice at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2012.
Can Nadal march on one step closer in his race towards his potential third Wimbledon title or will Tsonga, living up to his tag of being a giant-killer, step up his game to stun the Spaniard in their upcoming third round clash?
An exciting, captivating and engrossing match which promises to showcase high quality tennis awaits us on sixth day of the Wimbledon Championships.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal to win in four sets.