Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur are locked on a quarter-final collision course after four Australians advanced to the second week of Wimbledon for the first time this century.
Inspired qualifier Jason Kubler and women’s flag-bearer Ajla Tomljanovic also powered into the last 16 on a truly memorable day for Australian tennis.
Not since 1999, when Pat Rafter, Mark Philippoussis, Wayne Arthurs and Jelena Dokic all made the fourth round, has Australia had so many live chances entering the business week of the championships.
“I’m super proud with Aussies being this far, still capable of doing some damage at Wimbledon. It’s good to see,” Kyrgios said as Philippoussis was in the opposition box on Saturday as his countryman conjured a thrilling and controversial 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-3 7-6 (9-7) victory over Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The 2014 quarter-finalist faces unseeded American Brandon Nakashima on Monday for a spot in the last eight for the second time.
Untouchable on serve in his last two outings, Kyrgios is a hot favourite to march on.
He will play de Minaur if the Aussie No.1 lives up to his 19th seeding and beats unseeded Chilean Cristian Garin in their last-16 clash on Monday.
Such a scenario would guarantee Australia a men’s semi-finalist for the first time since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005.
Kyrgios confident, not cocksure
“We’ve both got a tough match ahead. He’s got Garin and I have Nakashima. Nakashima won easily today in straight sets. To do that at Wimbledon on grass is not easy. He’s obviously playing well. I’m not looking past that,” Kyrgios said.
“But I’m obviously not surprised with de Minaur. He’s been flying that flag for a while now. Super solid player. I’m not surprised to see him in the second week.”
As it is, de Minaur is already in uncharted territory after seeing off British wildcard Liam Broady 6-3 6-4 7-5 to reach the last 16 at SW19 for the first time.
“More than anything, I am just relieved to be in the second week of Wimbledon. It is incredibly special,” de Minaur said.
‘Ride this wave!’
“I am trying to enjoy every minute on the grass that I can and ride this wave.”
De Minaur’s victory completed a daily double for Australia’s two top-ranked stars after Tomljanovic eliminated 13th seed Barbora Krejecikova – the 2021 French Open champion – 2-6 6-4 6-3.
Tomljanovic has a huge opportunity to at least match her run to the quarter-finals last year when she takes on Alize Cornet next after the Frenchwoman stopped the winning streak of world No.1 Iga Swiatek at 37 matches with a shock 6-4 6-2 defeat of the Pole.
Kubler rounded out Australia’s banner day with a steely 6-2 4-6 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 win over American qualifier Jack Sock in the longest match of the tournament.
The four-hour, 15-minute effort earned the 29-year-old a shot at American 11th seed Taylor Fritz – plus a career pay day of Stg 190,000 ($A340,000) – or more if he wins again on Monday.
“Kubes, hit with him at an indoor court about a week ago. I thought his level was really good,” Kyrgios said.
“He obviously beat one of my best mates today. I mean, Kubes is capable of doing anything.
“You make it this far in the draw, you’re feeling good, seeing the ball pretty big.”