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December, 9, 2016

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Nadal, Sharapova lose; Serena leaves Wimbledon with illness

LONDON -- Rafael Nadal ran out of comebacks at Wimbledon, losing to a brash, big-serving, between-the-legs-hitting 19-year-old kid who might just be a future star.

Maria Sharapova, somehow, seemed on the verge of a turnaround despite a flurry of unforced errors, saving six match points before finally succumbing on the seventh with — what else? — a missed shot.

And in the most striking sight of a memorable day of departures by past Wimbledon champions, Serena Williams couldn't get the ball over the net in a doubles match with her sister Venus, stopping after three games because of what was called a viral illness.

All in all, Tuesday was chock-full of significant events, and the most noteworthy winner had to be 144th-ranked Nick Kyrgios of Australia, who used 37 aces and a have-no-fear approach to beat Nadal 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3 for a quarterfinal berth.

"I was in a bit of a zone out there," said Kyrgios, the lowest-ranked player to beat the No. 1 man at any Grand Slam tournament in 22 years.

"You've got to believe you can win the match from the very start, and I definitely thought that," the 6-foot-4 (1.93-meter) Kyrgios said. "I'm playing some unbelievable tennis on the grass."

That's for sure.

Playing in only his fifth major tournament — he got into the field thanks to a wild-card invitation — Kyrgios (pronounced KEER-ee-os) is the first man to reach the quarterfinals in his Wimbledon debut in 10 years. He's also the first teenager to defeat the top-ranked man at a Slam since Nadal was 19 when he beat Roger Federer at the 2005 French Open.

"We keep saying, 'Who's the next guy?' And I think we may have found him," seven-time major champion John McEnroe said on the BBC broadcast. a

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