Nadal marches on
A review of Saturday's action in the men's singles at Wimbledon.
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Rafael Nadal started slowly again but the prospect of a Wimbledon upset was swiftly doused as poor Mikhail Kukushkin felt the full force of the Spaniard at his best.
After dropping the opening sets in his earlier matches against Martin Klizan and Lukas Rosol, Nadal astonishingly did the same again against the world number 63 from Kazakhstan.
But his recovery spelt out Nadal's ambition for the week ahead as he sprinted home 6-7 (4/7) 6-1 6-1 6-1 under the Centre Court roof.
Watched from the Royal Box by sporting stars including former Real Madrid star David Beckham, Spaniard Nadal - a supporter of the Bernabeu giants - finished with his arms aloft, flinging his wristbands and headband into the adoring crowd, and departed with a broad smile across his face.
Three matches in, and it appears Nadal has played himself into peak form, comfortable again on grass after the transition from clay, and unmistakeably in the frame to land what would be his third Wimbledon title.
Nadal will now meet Nick Kyrgios, who has been one of the stories of the Championships - the 19-year-old Australian backing up his stunning five-set win over Richard Gasquet by defeating fellow young gun Jiri Vesely.
Kyrgios, who will now break into the top 100, had saved nine match points against Gasquet but he did not need similar heroics this time, winning 3-6 6-3 7-5 6-2.
"There's a lot of excitement," said Kyrgios, before adding with a smile: "Obviously there's 14 grand slam titles between us, so it's going to be a good match.
"I'm overwhelmed with happiness, making my first fourth round at a grand slam and the opportunity to play Rafa hopefully on Centre Court, but it's an opportunity I'm just going to embrace."
Roger Federer put on a show for his fellow sporting superstars as he eased into the second week without dropping a set.
Colombian Santiago Giraldo was Federer's latest victim, the seven-time champion winning their third-round contest 6-3 6-1 6-3 in an hour and 21 minutes.
David Beckham, Sachin Tendulkar and Sir Bobby Charlton stayed into the evening in the Royal Box to watch the grass-court master at work, and he did not disappoint.
The fourth seed now has a fourth-round clash with fellow veteran Tommy Robredo.
Robredo held his nerve in the dying light after letting a two-set lead slip against Jerzy Janowicz, winning 6-2 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 4-6 6-3.
Janowicz will plummet outside the top 40 after failing to back up his semi-final appearance from 12 months ago.
Eighth seed Milos Raonic is through to the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time and without dropping a set after a 7-6 (7/2) 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 win over last year's quarter-finalist Lukasz Kubot.
Raonic will have to wait to find out his opponent after Kei Nishikori and Simone Bolelli ran out of light at 3-3 in the fifth set of their third-round match.
The clashes between fifth seed Stanislas Wawrinka and Denis Istomin and John Isner and Feliciano Lopez were postponed and will be played on Monday.