He started with an ace - the cheek of the young man - and he ended with an ace to annihilate Rafael Nadal, the world's number one player at the spiritual home of lawn tennis, Wimbledon's Centre Court.

Aussie teen sensation Nick Kyrgios, 19, almost humiliated the man from Majorca as he outserved and outthought Nadal, a former Wimbledon champion, on his first visit to the Holy of Holies. The score was 7-6, 5-7, 7-6, 6-3.

Kyrgios showed no signs of nerves thanks, perhaps, to the confidence of youth. He stood mano a mano with a man most of the tennis world fears as the comeback king.

Those sages among the 15,000 audience on Centre Court nodded knowingly after Nadal conceded the first set tiebreak and then won the second set. "It will be over quickly now," they said.

But they hadn't counted on the chutzpah of the boy from Canberra whose Malaysian-born mother Noraila had unwisely predicted on Australian television that Nadal would be too good for her son. That opinion just motivated her son even more.

Incredible: Australia's Nick Kyrgios celebrates after winning his fourth round match
 

He said afterwards: "I will just text her a smiley face. I noticed my mum had said in an interview she thought Rafa was too good. It made me a bit angry and spurred me on."

Astonishingly Kyrgios needed a wildcard from Wimbledon to enter the tournament as his ranking (144) was too low for automatic inclusion. That will never happen again. He has announced himself on the world stage with his ranking likely to ascend as fast as the Canberra jet.

He so reminds me of the 17-year-old Boris Becker who won Queen's and then Wimbledon on his first foray into senior tennis in 1985. He was fearless and his play was awesome.

Before yesterday Nadal had won 64 tennis titles and £41 million in prize money. Kyrgios had won £137,000 and had been playing largely on the Challenger circuit, although he did win at Nottingham en route to Wimbledon.

Extraordinarily Kyrgios almost went out in round two when saving nine match points against France's Richard Gasquet including one when the line judge said his second serve was out when Hawkeye proved it had clipped the outside edge of the line.

Yesterday he needed no luck as he lived up to his nickname of Special K. He pulled off the shot of the Championships at 3-3 in the second set when he hit a ball between his legs (a hotdog, as tennis players call it) to produce a screaming winner. Nadal did not see the joke, but the Centre Court crowd was in ecstasy.

His massive serve was broken by Nadal only once, in the second set. Otherwise Nadal, still only 28, could not cope with the booming delivery - usually at 130mph that eventually pulverised him to defeat.

 

Later Kyrgios, whose idol is Roger Federer with whom he practised at the French Open, said; "It's been the best week of my life. I'm not feeling pressure, just the motivation to keep going.

"I'm a normal kid like any 19-year-old who likes to play on his Xbox. The big stage is something I thrive on. My serve got me over the line. I'm just going to give the people what they want, put on a bit of a show out there."

The show moves to Court One today where he will face an even bigger server in Canada's Milos Raonic, once dubbed the "next big thing in tennis."

For Nadal, who never looked entirely at home on grass this year, it is adios.

He said: "Everything is a little bit easier when you are arriving. You have nothing to lose." This was uncharacteristically ungenerous of a lovely, modest man who is usually benevolent in defeat.

Nadal's loss rather overshadowed the defeat of Maria Sharapova who went down, guns blazing, to the German number Nine seed Angelique Kerber. Sharapova saved seven match points en route as she tried to come back from 2-5 in the third set.

Kerber, 26, a scrambler and counter puncher, showed terrific resilience as the scream levels rose. In fairness she almost matched Sharapova in the vocal department, drowning the jets recently taken off from Heathrow which flew above the Centre Court.

Women's Singles: Russia's Maria Sharapova looks dejected during her fourth round match
 

Kerber won 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 after producing some stunning ground strokes. If she has a weakness it is her second serve which is often weak and vulnerable. She also served six double faults.

The difference between the two players was largely the error count - 49 unforced errors from Sharapova's racket against only 11 from Kerber's.

Afterwards Kerber said: "She didn't lose the match - I won it and that feels good. When I had all the match points in a row and I didn't make it I was a bit nervous but I was telling myself "She will not make mistakes. If you would like to win the match you need to do it, to be aggressive and to go for it."

Today Kerber faces the new darling of Wimbledon Canada's Eugenie Bouchard on Court One. Bouchard has had an extra day's rest which may count for plenty after the former spent 2hrs 37 minutes on court with Sharapova yesterday.

On Centre Court Andy Murray, yet to forfeit a set at this year's championship, faces "Baby Fed" Grigor Dimitrov, Sharapova's boyfriend and another rising star.

Dimitrov, 23, beat Murray in three sets in Acapulco earlier this year when the latter was on his comeback trail after back surgery. He will find a different Murray facing him across the net today - on Murray's favourite surface and at his spiritual home.