Nick Kyrgios has his eyes on the grand prize after a stunning win over defending champion Daniil Medvedev to continue his brilliant summer of reaching a maiden US Open quarterfinal.
Reaching the Wimbledon final whetted the Australian’s appetite for more success on the big stage and he put on a superb display of power and touch to go 7-6 (11) 3-6 6-3 6-2 to win.
Medvedev defeated Novak Djokovic to win his first Grand Slam title in New York 12 months ago but he was beaten by the better player under the lights of Arthur Ashe and will now lose the number one ranking.
Kyrgios has spoken at length about his team’s impact and wanted to make the most of the months away from Australia by finally doing justice to his vast talent.
“I’ve been in some really difficult situations mentally and in some really scary places,” said the 27-year-old.
“Obviously, looking at it on paper, I probably wasn’t expected to win that. Maybe I’ll take a set or two if I’m lucky. Give people a show.
“It’s a great win. But I come off the pitch almost relieved it’s over because there’s so much pressure every time I step onto the pitch, so much expectation, so much unpredictability of what I can do.
“I’m just sitting in the dressing room afterwards and I’m just super proud of the achievement because there really was a time when I didn’t think I would be able to produce and do that anymore.
“I just fought so hard mentally for the first six, seven years of my career. I’ve had great results, shocking results, really pushed, then tanked. I honestly didn’t know how to deal with it. I hit myself way too hard. It was unhealthy.
“Looking back, it’s all just been a learning process up until now because I’ve matured so much. I now know the process of getting to the final of a Grand Slam. Not to win yet, but to get into the final.
“It’s the last biggest tournament of the year. We have to try to just persevere and keep pushing each other to stay positive. We’re going home next week. But maybe three more matches, then we’ll never have to play tennis again.”
That last comment may or may not be serious, but what is clear is that Kyrgios is a serious title contender if he can maintain the form he has shown under the lights.
He entered the competition strengthened by a win over Medvedev in Montreal last month and claimed first blood after an epic tie-break in the opening set.
After a 4-1 lead, Kyrgios slammed his racquet down when Medvedev equalized 5-5, but the Russian failed to collect any of the three set points.
The momentum went to Kyrgios and after another hit of his racquet on a missed opportunity, he played a freezing drop shot and then claimed his fourth set point.
The Aussie’s focus wavered in the second set, but now he knows how to reset and from the start of the third he was bogged down, repeatedly claiming serve from Medvedev and fighting his way to one of the best wins of his career.
Kyrgios even happily shrugged off a bizarre moment early in the third set when he appeared to have set up a break point but got around the net post to bat a ball away on Medvedev’s side, losing the point.
The Russian later admitted he wasn’t feeling well and blamed the United States’ love of air conditioning, but credited Kyrgios for his performance.
“It was a high-level game,” said Medvedev. “I played Novak, Rafa. They all play fantastic. I think Nick played at her level today. If he plays like that until the end of the tournament, he has every chance of winning it.”
Rafael Nadal is in pole position to take over world number one, although Casper Ruud and Carlos Alcaraz are also in contention.
Medvedev said: “I won’t cry in the (press) room, but I’m a bit disappointed. For a few days, I’ll just be a little sad, look at my phone, my laptop, or watch a series.
“But that is motivation, try to do better. Obviously it was the last slam of the year. I wasn’t good enough.”
In the round of eight, Kyrgios meets another Russian in Karen Khachanov, who defeated Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
There was also a five-pointer between Matteo Berrettini and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, which the 13th-seeded Italian won 3-6 7-6(2) 6-3 4-6 6-2 to set up a clash against Ruud .
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/nick-kyrgios-daniil-medvedev-us-open-new-york-wimbledon-b2159754.html Nick Kyrgios looks to the Grand Prix after a stunning win over Daniil Medvedev