Rafael Nadal vs Nick Kyrgios Picks: It's Kyrgios' Time to Shine

If not for an abdomen injury that flared up in his quarterfinal victory, Rafael Nadal could be en route to an all-time great showdown against Nick Kyrgios. At less than 100%, the odds favor Kyrgios and we expect that to play out in our Wimbledon picks.

Last Updated: Jul 7, 2022 2:26 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Nick Kyrgios Wimbledon
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Editor's note: This preview was written before Rafael Nadal withdrew from his semifinal match on Thursday.

Nick Kyrgios is appearing in his first Grand Slam semifinal and is the favorite against Rafael Nadal, who is struggling to come to terms with an abdomen injury that flared up in his quarterfinal victory. 

It looked, especially in the second set, as though Nadal would be forced to retire from his quarterfinal match against American Taylor Fritz. Somehow, the 22-time Grand Slam champion fought on, battled through the pain barrier, and prevailed in five sets, marking one of the Spaniard’s most unlikely and impressive semi-final victories. 

The looming question in our Wimbledon betting picks is whether the imperious Spaniard can recover enough, with just a single day of rest, to overcome the heavy-hitting, mercurial Australian. 

Nadal vs Kyrgios odds

(2) Rafael Nadal (NR) Nick Kyrgios
+128 Moneyline -156
+2.5 (-122) Game spread -2.5 (-108)
Over 40.5 (-135) Total games Under 40.5 (-120)
Over 3.5 (-225) Total sets Under 3.5 (+166)

Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook on July 7, 2022.

Nadal vs Kyrgios picks

Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Nadal vs Kyrgios betting preview

Over the course of his career, Nadal has won six of nine contests against the trouble-inciting Australian. They've met twice before at Wimbledon with each taking a match.

Nadal, who won the Australian Open and French Open already in 2022, is in search of his first calendar-year Grand Slam. He is also trying to secure his first Wimbledon-French Open double since 2010. Nadal had only dropped a single set prior to his odds-defying five-set quarterfinal victory and throughout his storied, decorated career, he has won 76% of matches on grass, which is his least favorite surface. 

The opposite is true of Kyrgios, who performs best on grass. Natural turf, especially during the latter stages of The Championships, perfectly suits Kyrgios’ monstrous hitting style. The ball zips off the turf low and fast, accentuating the Aussie’s pronounced power. 

The 27-year-old has 120 aces at Wimbledon, the most of any player. That stat is enhanced and emboldened by his 70% first-serve success rate, which is also the best at Wimbledon 2022. 

His formidable serve is in stark contrast to what Nadal was able to muster in his quarterfinal victory. The Spaniard’s first serve usually averages about 115 mph and he was hitting just 107 mph in the quarterfinal, with countless first serves falling well below the 100 mph threshold due to a lingering abdomen injury.

Fritz broke Nadal’s serve eight times during Wednesday’s quarterfinal, a worrying stat for the Spaniard, particularly considering Kyrgios’ superior return game. 

Kyrgios’ first serve invariably averages over 120 mph and his second serve average is 108 mph, which exceeds the speed of Nadal’s first serve in his quarterfinal win. 

Nadal is in search of his 22nd Grand Slam title and, for the first time against Kyrgios, will have to overcome his underdog status for the right to play in his sixth Wimbledon final. 

Nadal vs Kyrgios prediction and best bet

Our prediction is compiled from the analysis of the players and is an indication of who we are leaning with to win this match.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this match or where the most value lies, and is where we would put some of our bankroll behind.

Friday’s match on Centre Court represents Kyrgios’ best chance to not only make a Grand Slam final but to do so by eliminating Nadal, the winningest player in the history of men’s tennis. 

Kyrgios, the world No. 40, got the better of Nadal at Wimbledon in 2014 on his way to the quarterfinals in his debut at the All England Club. It also marked Kyrgios’ best result at the tournament.

Nadal returned the favor in 2019 when he beat Kyrgios in four sets in the second round on Centre Court. 

Based on the quality he possesses in big moments, you’d expect Nadal to prevail if health wasn’t a concern. Unfortunately, it is, planting more than a seed of doubt. Kyrgios has more weapons at his disposal than Fritz and is ruthless on the serve. 

Despite a few quintessential Kyrgios troublemaking moments, he’s shown more maturity and poise than in all of his previous Wimbledon appearances combined. This is his moment. If it doesn’t happen now, it never will. 

Look for Kyrgios to prevail over a tattered Nadal.  

Prediction: Nick Kyrgios to win (-156 at FanDuel)

It’s Nadal, so something miraculous could certainly be in the offing regardless of how hobbled he is.

Miraculous, depending on circumstance, can manifest in many ways. Considering his debilitating injury, taking a set from the in-form Kyrgios certainly qualifies. But that's all he's going to get.

Pick: Nick Kyrgios to win in four sets (+320 at BetMGM)

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