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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday July 4, 2022

 
Cristian Garin

Cristian Garin completed the tournament's first comeback from two sets to love down against Alex de Minaur to reach the his first Slam quarterfinal.

Photo Source: Getty
 

Earlier this season, reeling from a five-match losing streak and a lack of inspiration, Chile’s Cristian Garin had to dig deep to find his sense of purpose.

Tennis Express

He entered Houston to play the 250-level event on clay in early April, but was actually considering taking a break from the sport if things didn’t start to get better.


They have.

Around that time, Garin started working with Spanish coach Pepe Vendrell, a former coach of Roberto Bautista Agut from 2011 to 2021, and the pair hit the ground running.

It hasn’t been a straight line to success, but today, Garin’s hard work has paid off in the form of a first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon. He rallied from two sets down to defeat Australia’s Alex de Minaur, 2-6, 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-4, 7-6[10-6], becoming the first player to overcome a two-set deficit at these championships.

He also saved two match points, while serving from 15-40 at 4-5 in the fifth set.

“I don’t have any words right now,” Garin said after the match. “I gave everything I had.”


A Stroke of Good Fortune before the First Round

Garin, who was originally drawn to face No.8-seeded Matteo Berrettini in the first round, has made the most of an opportunity that came to him when the Italian pulled out of the draw with Covid-19.

Instead of facing Berrettini, last year’s Wimbledon runner-up who had won 20 of his last 21 matches on grass, the Chilean faced Elias Ymer of Sweden, whom he swiftly dispatched 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.

From there it was more of the same in the second round – a straight set win over another lucky loser, France’s Hugo Grenier.

After a third-round win over No-29-seeded Jenson Brooksby in four sets, Garin played the match of his career to rally past De Minaur, the No.19 seed, in four hours and 34 minutes on Monday.

“Alex, he’s an incredible player, one of the best on grass for me,” Garin said.

Garin had lost all nine sets he had played against the Aussie after dropping the first two sets on Monday, but somehow he found the resolve to work his way through the difficult encounter.

He is the first Chilean to reach the last eight at a major since Fernando Gonzalez at the 2009 US Open.

Gonzalez, a former World No.5 who reached a Grand Slam final and won 11 titles on tour, was Garin's idol, and the pair are friends today.

"With Fernando, whenever I'm in Chile, I play with him," Garin said. "We practice. We are good friends. We go always out for dinners when I'm in Chile. Yeah, we have a very good relation. I have a good relation with Fernando. He was my idol when I was growing up. Yeah, it's so nice to have him close."

Matching Gonzalez today makes the accomplishment even more special for Garin. 

“It’s so special,” he said. “I’ve been working hard all my life to be in this position, and it’s a dream for me. Wimbledon, I always said that it’s my favorite tournament… It’s a dream to be in the quarterfinals, I work hard every day to be in these occasions.”

The Chilean has now won seven of his last eight matches at Wimbledon. A disappointing winter has led Garin to the best moment of his career.

Garin will face either Nick Kyrgios or Brandon Nakashima next.

 

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