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Nick Kyrgios dethrones Daniil Medvedev to reach US Open last eight

Nick Kyrgios dethrones Daniil Medvedev to reach US Open last eight
Nick Kyrgios reached the US Open quarter-finals for the first time after a high-quality victory over defending champion and world No 1 Daniil Medvedev
‘I want to go all the way’: Nick Kyrgios dethrones Daniil Medvedev to reach US Open last eight
  • In-form Australian beats world No 1 7-6 (13-11) 3-6 6-3 6-2
  • Victory sets up quarter-final clash with Karen Khachanov
Nick Kyrgios of Australia celebrates a point during his fourth-round US Open match against Daniil Medvedev.

Deep in the tiebreak of one of the very best sets of tennis played this year, Nick Kyrgios slammed his racket and then hollered towards his box, his face a picture of utter rage. He had saved three set points with some audacious touches, but then as he generated his own, he was ground down by the immense durability and defence of Daniil Medvedev, the top-ranked player in the world.

As he stepped up to the baseline with the tiebreak level at 11-11, there was a time not long ago when this could have fizzled out in an anti-climax. But not these days. Under immense pressure, Kyrgios gave the purest demonstration of his ball striking talent, exploding into a down he line backhand then immediately following it up with a delicate drop shot winner that set the tone for what was to come.

Nick Kyrgios beats Daniil Medvedev: US Open tennis fourth round – as it happened
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In an intense, high quality tussle that felt so much greater than a mere fourth round encounter, the best summer of Kyrgios’s career endured for another day as he defeated Medvedev, the defending champion and world No 1, 7-6 (11-9), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals of the US Open for the first time in his career.

It is another step forward in a year that Kyrgios has learnt how to manage himself more professionally, focusing on how to optimise his success on the court. Kyrgios is now a supreme 35-9 in 2022. He has won more matches than any other player this summer, and if he had been granted those 1200 points from his Wimbledon final run, he would be comfortably top eight in the ATP race, right behind Medvedev himself.

Despite the fourth-round billing and Kyrgios’s seeding, this was a heavyweight battle between the best and most in-form players in the top half of the draw. The quality and tension radiating from them in the opening games alone underlined their mutual respect.

For an hour, despite how well Kyrgios had played, Medvedev refused to let go. He returned brilliantly, deflecting 134mph serves to within centimetres of the baseline, and he enraged Kyrgios with his defence, soaking up all of the changes of pace, direction and spins. They traded breaks and then they duelled all the way to the depths of the first set tiebreak. But Kyrgios’ daring was the difference. After Medvedev saved Kyrgios’s third set point, the Australian responded with his slick drop shot before clinching the set.

By the end of the set, they had combined for 44 winners and just 20 unforced errors. The challenge, though, was maintaining such a high level. Kyrgios’s level sharply dropped at the beginning of the second set. He immediately threw in his worst service game and after four games, he was already on the verge of tanking the set. Medvedev, meanwhile, simply did not miss. He struck just five unforced errors as he levelled the match.

For all of the quality tennis, there was also one particular moment of foolishness. At 1-0, 30-30 on Medvedev’s serve, Medvedev stuck a flailing arm out to his right after a searing forehand passing shot from Kyrgios. The ball struck Medvedev’s racket and flew high into the sky. It would have bounced on Medvedev’s side, but caught up in the euphoria of an excellent point, Kyrgios sprinted to Medvedev’s side of the court and volleyed the ball into the air in celebration, a grin plastered over his face. Since the ball hadn’t yet bounced, Medvedev lost the point. Not even Kyrgios, a man who could beef with his own shadow, could argue with the call.

What could have been a defining misjudgement at a pivotal moment was merely a slight detour en route to victory. Two games later, Kyrgios played his best return game of the match, taking advantage of Medvedev missing first serves by easily breaking the Russian’s serve to establish a third set lead. From that point onwards, things were fairly routine as Kyrgios played at a stratospheric level, breezing through the rest of the set and never looking back as he saw off last year’s champion and moved on.

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Medvedev had arrived at the US Open with the biggest target on his back but without the form to hold off his challengers. While he has not played badly, the drop-off in his form since last year has been clear. Of the six finals he has reached over the past year, he has won just one title. In previous iterations of this match-up, like their second round of the Australian Open in January, Medvedev would have been the player who maintained his level as Kyrgios flailed. But Kyrgios is a changed player these days and he stood firm until the end.

Kyrgios had never played well in New York, his prior best result just a third round finish, yet now he is the clear favourite in his first quarter-final. He had started this tournament by speaking of how much he was looking forward to the end of the US Open when he would be able to fly home and reunite with his family, yet he has once again delayed his departure.

Kyrgios next faces Karen Khachanov, the 27th seed, who reached his first US Open quarter-final by edging out Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3

  • US Open Tennis 2022
  • US Open tennis
  • Nick Kyrgios
  • Daniil Medvedev
  • Tennis
  • Australia sport
  • US sports
  • news
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