Nick Kyrgios crushed world number one Daniil Medvedev’s dreams of a title defense at the U.S. Open on Sunday with a 7-6(11) 3-6 6-3 6-2 victory to reach the quarter-finals and ensure there will be a new top-ranked player when the tournament concludes.
In a meeting worthy of a Broadway show between two of the game’s biggest servers and most combustible personalities, it was the fiery Australian who was the better in the match’s biggest moments, showing off a renewed focus and fitness.
“It was an amazing match,” Kyrgios said in an on-court interview before a sold-out crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Kyrgios delights in shunning the norms of tennis and did so again in a bizarre moment early in the third set when he ran around the net to hit a ball that Medvedev had sent high in the air, leading Kyrgios to celebrate enthusiastically.
The play cost Kyrgios the point but seemingly raised his spirits as he would break for 3-1 and take the set with a perfectly executed drop shot.
In the fourth, Kyrgios again broke early for a 2-1 lead he would not relinquish and Medvedev began to crumble from there, hitting balls against the back wall in frustration as the match grew further out of reach.
Medvedev, who dropped to 1-4 lifetime against Kyrgios, tipped his hat to him after the match and admitted to struggling in the stifling heat and humidity.
“I felt my throat a little bit today,” he told reporters.
Wimbledon finalist Kyrgios is playing the best tennis of his life, recording the most wins on tour since the end of the French Open and his quarter-finals appearance marks his best results at the Grand Slam tournament in Queens.
“I’m just trying to work hard every day, try to make every practice session count, getting to sleep,” he said.
The 23rd-seeded Kyrgios will be a heavy favourite when he plays another Russian, 27th seed Karen Khachanov, on Tuesday.