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Nick Kyrgios defeats No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in wild, outburst-filled Wimbledon match

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WIMBLEDON, England — Stefanos Tsitsipas called Nick Kyrgios a “thug” after the Australian defeated him in a volatile “circus” of a third-round match at Wimbledon on Saturday.

Kyrgios won 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(7) to reach the fourth round at the All England Club for the first time since 2016, not without three code violations being issued during the match. match: one on Kyrgios for audible obscenity and two on Tsitsipas for ball abuse, earning a penalty point.

After the match, fourth-seeded Tsitsipas said that Kyrgios has “an evil side” and must have been “a bully at school” because of the way he behaved throughout the match.

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“It’s constant bullying; that’s what he does,” Tsitsipas said. “He bullies opponents. He was probably a bully himself in school. I don’t like bullies. I don’t like people who put other people down.”

“He also has some good traits to his character, but… he also has a very evil side, which if exposed, can really cause a lot of harm and evil to the people around him.”

Kyrgios responded: “Coming in here and saying I harassed him, that’s just soft. We’re not cut from the same cloth. I’m up against guys who are real competitors. If that affects him today, then that’s what’s holding him back.” back, because someone can do that and it will take him off his game that way. I just think it’s soft.”

Much of the drama surrounded an incident late in the second set, when Tsitsipas lobbed a ball into the corner stands, narrowly missing a spectator.

Kyrgios immediately argued with the referee, saying that Tsitsipas should be disqualified, adding that if he had, he would have been sent off. He then demanded to see a supervisor, but was not happy with chair umpire Damien Dumusois’ warning response.

“What are you talking about, brother?” Kyrgios asked Dumusois. “Bring in more supervisors. I’m not done. Take them all out. I don’t care. … I won’t play until we get to the bottom of this.”

Tsitsipas later apologized for sending the ball into the corner.

“Look, I have to say that was very mean of me,” he said. “I’ve never done that before, thrown the ball out of bounds like that. I apologized to people. I don’t know what was going through my head at the time.”

“I think, with the whole circus show happening on the other side of the net, it started to get very tiring somehow. That happened. I didn’t hit anybody. It hit the wall, thank God. For sure.” I will never do that again. It is my responsibility, without a doubt. But there was also something that created that behavior that I’m not used to seeing.”

Kyrgios’ problems with the chair umpire began in the first set, when a linesman annoyed him and asked for the umpire to leave, which did not happen.

More antics came from both players throughout. From serves under Kyrgios’s arm, including one between his legs, to three shots that Tsitsipas deliberately hit him with.

Kyrgios said after the match that he had done nothing wrong.

“I don’t know what to say,” Kyrgios said. “I’m not sure how I intimidated him. He was the one who hit my balls. He was the one who hit a spectator. He was the one who hit him outside the stadium. I didn’t do anything … Other than go back and forth with the referee for Wait a minute, I didn’t do anything to Stefanos today that was disrespectful, I don’t think so. I wasn’t drilling him with balls.”

The Greek star admitted to trying to hit Kyrgios a number of times, but said he thought there should be some kind of rule to prevent players from behaving like the Australian does sometimes.

“Every point I played today I feel like something was happening on the other side of the net,” Tsitsipas said. “I’m trying not to get distracted by it, because I know it could be intentional, because for sure he can play the other way. And that’s his way of manipulating the opponent and making you feel distracted, in a way.”

“There is no other player who does this. There is no other player who is so upset and frustrated all the time with something. He triggers it so easily and so quickly.”

Players combined for 118 game-winning shots on Court No. 1 in a match that lasted 3 hours and 17 minutes.

“It’s very different. That’s not a bad thing,” Tsitsipas said of Kyrgios, adding that the Australian star is good for the sport, in a way. “But I don’t think there’s been a single game that I played with him where he behaved that way. There comes a point where you really get tired, let’s say.”

“The constant conversation. The constant complaints. I mean, I’m about to serve, and there’s a big gap there that you don’t play tennis, which is the most important thing on the court. We’re there to play tennis. We’re not there to have conversations. and dialogues with other people…especially when you really know that the referee is not going to overturn what he decided, you know.”

Kyrgios will play American Brandon Nakashima in the fourth round.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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