Lucky Kyrgios sparks 'lucky loser' debate as two Aussie men reach Wimbledon finals
Fortune has smiled upon Nick Kyrgios and Matt Ebden at the All England Club, with both getting chances to win a title due to grit or good luck.
Matt Ebden lost the Wimbledon mixed doubles final with Samantha Stosur but gets another chance in the men's doubles decider on Saturday.
Kyrgios advanced to the men's final after Rafael Nadal succumbed to injury after a gruelling five-set quarter final win, the 27-year-old Austrliaan going through to the final in a walkover.
Ebden fell short in his quest for one Wimbledon title on a bittersweet afternoon for the West Australian at the All England Club.
Ebden and veteran Australian great Samantha Stosur lost to the second-seeded British-American pair of Neal Skupski and Desirae Krawczyk 6-4 6-3 in the mixed doubles final.
Skupski and Desirae Krawczyk are the first team to clinch back-to-back Wimbledon mixed doubles titles in a quarter of a century.
But Ebden gets a second chance when he teams up with Sydneysider Max Purcell in the men's doubles decider after staging an incredible fightback earlier on Thursday.
Ebden and Purcell stared down five match points in a pulsating third set before recovering to stun top seeds Rajeev Ram, of the US, and Brit Joe Salisbury 3-6 6-7 (1-7) 7-6 (11-9) 6-4 6-2 in a four-hour thriller.
Nick Kyrgios is however a win away from joining the pantheon of Australian tennis greats as a Wimbledon champion after advancing to the final at the All England Club.
Despite his high hopes, even Kyrgios could scarcely have believed he'd be the first player through to the men's title match nine days after being locked in a tense five-set struggle in his tournament opener with British world No.219 Paul Jubb.
But Rafael Nadal's dramatic withdrawal with an abdominal tear on the eve of what Kyrgios was predicting would be "the most-watched match of all-time" has presented the 27-year-old with a dream chance to etch his name in the tennis history books.
Nadal said he'd carried the stomach muscle injury throughout the first week of the championships before aggravating it during his five-set quarter-final comeback win over American Taylor Fritz.
"As everybody saw yesterday, I have been suffering with the pain in abdominal. I know something was not okay there, as yesterday I said," Nadal said at a packed news conference on Thursday night.
"That's confirmed. I have a tear in the muscle in the abdominal. The communication is too late because even like that I was thinking during the whole day about the decision to make.
"But I think it's doesn't make sense to go (on). Even if I tried lot of times during my career to keep going under very tough circumstances, in this one I think it's obvious that if I keep going, the injury going to be worse and worse.
"That's the thing that I can say now. Feel very sad to say that."
Nadal's withdrawal has left some commentators wondering whether Fritz ought, in a future scenario of a similar nature, to have been offered the chance to play Kyrgios in the semi-final.
Kyrgios will play either top-seeded six-time champion Novak Djokovic or British world No.12 Cameron on Sunday.
He'll be bidding to join Australian legends Norman Brookes, Gerald Patterson, Jack Crawford, Frank Sedgman, Lew Hoad, Ashley Cooper, Neale Fraser, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, John Newcombe, Pat Cash and Lleyton Hewitt on the men's singles honour board.
The prodigiously gifted entertainer from Canberra said after moving into the last four that he was intent - and finally felt ready - to deliver on his rich potential, claiming:
"I just feel like I'm more mature.
"Earlier in my career if I made a third, fourth or quarter-finals, I'd be on my phone a lot.
I would be engaging online a lot, would be keen to go out to dinner and explore or just do things to kind of, not necessarily soak in the achievement, but just not conservatively just go back to my house at Wimbledon with my team, put my feet up, get treatment and eat, get good rest.
"I think everyone has the same goal in my team. That's why it's working. We all know what we've come here to do.
"I made it pretty known to them that I wanted to go pretty deep here and possibly even raise the trophy. I've made that pretty known.
"I feel like it's literally just been as simple as get some rest. Like, 'Nick, stay in the house'.
"That's not always been the easiest thing for me over my career."
The 34-year-old Ebden had every reason for feeling exhausted for the mixed final after he and Purcell recovered from the brink to become the first all-Australian combination since the legendary Woodies - Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge - won the last of their six titles in 2000 to make the Wimbledon men's doubles decider.
Runners-up to Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis in the Australian Open doubles final in January, Ebden and Purcell will play Croatian second seeds Nikola Metkic and Mate Pavic for the trophy on Saturday.