Nick Kyrgios set up a potential Wimbledon blockbuster with Rafael Nadal on Tuesday with a 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 7-6 (12/10), 0-6, 6-1 win over fellow Australian Jordan Thompson.
Kyrgios, who stunned Nadal as a 144-ranked wildcard on his tournament debut in 2014, put in a typically raucous and charismatic display on Court 3.
In a match where he fired 23 aces and 63 winners, the 24-year-old argued with the umpire, slumped over the net and played dead.
He also hit an underarm serve on set point in the third set, shaped to imitate a forward defensive cricket shot and celebrated a point by running around madly in a circle.
If world number two Nadal defeats Japan´s Yuichi Sugita later Tuesday, the two will meet just four months after Kyrgios defeated the Spaniard in a stormy clash in Acapulco.
It was his third win over Nadal in six meetings.
Nadal accused the Australian of “lacking respect” in that match while Kyrgios described the Spaniard as “salty”.
On Tuesday, Kyrgios put on a trademark display.
After dropping the second set, he needed a medical timeout for a leg injury before attempting — and failing — to finish the third set with an underarm serve.
He eventually took the set on an eighth set point before conceding an 18-minute fourth set in which he collected just five points.
However, two breaks in a more composed decider settled the tie.