Nick Kyrgios has his eyes on the jackpot after a stunning victory 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 beat Novak Djokovic to win his first Grand Slam title in New York 12 months ago, but he was beaten by Arthur Ashe’s best player in the spotlight and will now lose the number one ranking.
Kyrgios has spoken a lot about his team’s influence and his desire to make the months away from Australia count by finally living up to his enormous talent.
“I’ve been in very tough situations mentally and in really scary places,” the 27-year-old said.
“Obviously if you look at it on paper, I probably didn’t expect to win this. Maybe take a set or two if I’m lucky. Give people a show.
“It’s a great win. But I come off the pitch and I’m almost relieved that it’s over because there’s so much pressure every time I go on the pitch, so much expectation, so much unpredictability. of what I can do.
“I just sat there in the locker room afterwards and I’m just super proud of the performance because there really was a point where I didn’t think I was able to produce and do that anymore.
“I struggled so mentally for the first six or seven years of my career. I had great results, shocking results, I tried really hard and then I tanked. I honestly didn’t know how to deal with all of this. I fought too hard. It was unhealthy.
“I look back, it was just a learning process until now because I’ve matured so much. I now know the process of what it takes to get to a Grand Slam final. Not again to win it, but to get to the final.
“It’s the last biggest tournament of the year. We have to try to resist and keep pushing each other, to be positive. Next week we go home. But three more matches potentially , we’ll never have to play tennis again.”
Kyrgios entered the contest buoyed by a win over Medvedev in Montreal last month and drew first blood after an epic first-set tie-break.
After leading 4-1, Kyrgios slammed his racket on the court as Medvedev equalized at 5-5, but the Russian couldn’t take any of the three set points.
The momentum swung to Kyrgios and, after another swipe on a missed chance, he played an icy drop shot and then picked up his fourth set point.
The Aussie’s concentration faltered in the second set but now he knows how to reset and from the start of the third he was locked in, repeatedly grabbing Medvedev’s serve and shoving his way to one of the best wins of his career.
Kyrgios even managed to happily ignore a bizarre moment at the start of the third set when he appeared to have set up a break point, but rounded the net post to hit a ball in Medvedev’s side forfeiting the point.
The Russian revealed afterwards that he was not feeling well, blaming USA love for the air conditioning, but credited Kyrgios for his performance.
“It was a top game,” Medvedev said. “I played against Novak, Rafa. They all play amazing. Nick played today a bit on their level, in my opinion. If he plays like that until the end of the tournament, he has all chances of winning it.”
Rafael Nadal is in pole position to take over as world number 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’m just going to be a little sad, looking at my phone, my laptop or watching 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 last eight, Kyrgios will face another Russian in Karen Khachanov, who beat 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 Italian 13th seed won 3-6 7-6(2) 6-3 4-6 6-2 to set up a clash against Ruud.
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US Open: Nick Kyrgios stuns Daniil Medvedev to reach quarter-finals as Russia lose world No. 1 ranking