Nick Kyrgios has his eyes on the big prize after a stunning win over defending champion Daniil Medvedev to reach a first US Open quarter-final.
The Australian, who reached the Wimbledon final earlier this summer, produced a superb display of power and touch to win 7-6 (11) 3-6 6-3 6-2.
Medvedev defeated Novak Djokovic to win his first Grand Slam title in New York 12 months ago, but was beaten by the best player under the Arthur Ashe lights and will now lose the number one ranking.
Kyrgios has spoken extensively about his team’s influence and willingness to make the months away from Australia count to live up to his enormous talent.
“I’ve been in some really tough situations mentally and some really scary places,” the 27-year-old said.
“Obviously, if you look at it on paper, I probably wasn’t expected to win this. Maybe take a seven or two if I’m lucky. Give the people a show.
“It’s a big win. But I come off the court and I’m almost relieved it’s over because there’s so much pressure every time I go on the court, so much anticipation, so much unpredictability of what I can do.
“Afterwards I sat in the dressing room and I’m really proud of the performance because there was really a moment where I thought I wasn’t able to produce and do this anymore.
“I struggled mentally a lot for the first six or seven years of my career. I had great results, shocking results, I tried really hard, then I collapsed. I honestly didn’t know how to deal with it. I beat myself up .to climb too hard, it was not healthy.
“Looking back, it’s all been a learning process so far because I’ve matured a lot. Now I know the process it takes to get to a Grand Slam final. Not to win it yet, but to get it. to the final .
“It’s the last biggest tournament of the year. We’ve got to try to get through it and keep pushing each other, keep being positive. Next week we go home. But potentially three more games, then we’ll never have of doing it. play tennis again.”
Kyrgios entered the contest buoyed by a win over Medvedev in Montreal last month and drew first blood after an epic opening tiebreaker.
Having led 4-1, Kyrgios hit his racket on the court as Medvedev leveled at 5-5, but the Russian could not take any of the three set points.
Momentum swung to Kyrgios and after another swing of his racket on a missed opportunity, he hit a cool drop shot and then won his fourth set point.
The Australian’s focus drifted in the second set, but now he knows how to reset and from the start of the third he was locked in, taking advantage time and again of Medvedev’s serve and cruising to one of the best wins of his career.
Kyrgios was even able to gleefully avoid a rare moment early in the third set when he appeared to have set up a break point, but turned the net post to hit a ball past Medvedev, thus losing the point.
The Russian later revealed he was not feeling well, blaming America’s love of air conditioning, but credited Kyrgios with his performance.
“It was a high-level match,” Medvedev said. “I’ve played with Novak, Rafa. They all play amazing. Nick played at his level today, in my opinion. If he plays like this until the end of the tournament, he has every chance to win it.”
Rafael Nadal is in pole position to become world No. 1, although Casper Ruud and Carlos Alcaraz are also in contention.
Medvedev said: “I’m not going to cry in the [press] room, but I’m a little disappointed. For a few days I will be a little sad, looking at my phone, my laptop or watching some series.
“But that’s the motivation, trying to do better. Obviously it was the last slam of the year. I didn’t do well enough.”
In the round of 16, Kyrgios will face 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-setter 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 showdown against Ruud.
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