Tennis: Gasquet downs Kyrgios to reach Wimbledon last-eight

Tennis: Gasquet downs Kyrgios to reach Wimbledon last-eight
Richard Gasquet of France shakes hands with Nick Kyrgios of Australia after winning their match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 6, 2015.
PHOTO: Reuters

LONDON - Richard Gasquet avenged last year's painful Wimbledon loss against Nick Kyrgios as the French 21st seed moved into the quarter-finals with a 7-5, 6-1, 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (8/6) victory over the controversial Australian on Monday.

Gasquet had wasted nine match points while squandering a two-set lead in a second round defeat to Kyrgios 12 months ago.

But the 29-year-old made amends on Court Two with a powerful display against the 26th seed, who helped the Frenchman by appearing to deliberately lose several points in the second set.

Gasquet, who made the semi-finals in 2007, will play French Open champion Stan Wawrinka or Belgian 16th seed David Goffin for a place in the last four.

Gasquet's victory also improved his miserable record in Grand Slam last 16 ties - he had lost 16 of his previous 18 matches at that stage.

The 29-year-old's vast natural gifts have yet to bring sustained success, with his best runs at the majors ending in semi-final defeats at Wimbledon and the US Open two years ago.

Kyrgios had earned a reputation as something of a malcontent during the first week of the tournament as he argued with umpires, shouting out 'dirty scum' during one row, bounced a racket into the crowd, and claimed he didn't care if he was fined or how people viewed his antics.

The brash 20-year-old looked in the groove when he broke in the opening game of the match, but Gasquet was unfazed, hitting back in the fourth game and going on to take the set with his second break.

Kyrgios was reduced to applauding admiringly when Gasquet unfurled yet another sublime backhand winner late in the first set.

And when he blurted out that "I might as well just leave now", it signalled one of the volatile Kyrgios's infamous mood swings, with Gasquet quick to punish the Australian's lack of focus.

He broke in the second game of the second set and Kyrgios responded petulantly - appearing to 'tank' in the next game as he walked in the opposite direction to one Gasquet serve and then gently knocked another return into the net.

Kyrgios broke early in the third set, only to let Gasquet off the hook when he dropped serve soon after - reacting to that failure in typically eccentric style by hugging a ball-boy.

After saving two match points at 5-6, Kyrgios made the most of his escape to take the tie-break.

But Gasquet kept plugging away and finally saw off the Australian in the fourth set tie-break.

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