The in-form Nick Kyrgios was an awkward match-up for Daniil Medvedev at the US Open and the Australian did well to disrupt the Russian’s rhythm on his way to a fourth-round victory, according to Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpischev.
Kyrgios, 27, continued his scintillating recent form by downing defending champion Medvedev in four sets – 7-6 (13-11), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 – in a high-quality encounter at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday night.
The loss means that Kyrgios has won four of his five career matches against Medvedev, with the 26-year-old Russian now sure to drop from his world number one ranking once the US Open concludes.
Russian tennis chief Tarpischev discussed what had led to Medvedev’s downfall at Flushing Meadows.
“This is one of the most difficult contests for Daniil. Kyrgios is very unpredictable, he’s playing great,” Tarpischev told RBC Sport.
“Daniil is a creator, an artist, when there is a rhythm, then he’s the king, but Kyrgios breaks up the game and it’s very difficult to play against him.
“Kyrgios is an uncomfortable opponent because their styles do not match, but this doesn’t mean that Medvedev was doomed – if he’d won the first set, there would have been some different tennis,” added Tarpischev.
Medvedev bounced back to win the second set but faded in the third and fourth as the big-serving Kyrgios stormed back into the match.
The Russian himself was full of praise for the Australian, who continued his impressive form after making a maiden Grand Slam final appearance at Wimbledon in July.
“Nick today played kind of at the level of [Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal], in my opinion,” Medvedev said at his post-match press conference.
“He has a little bit different game because he’s not a grinder. At the same time he can rally. He’s tough to play. He has an amazing serve.
“But from baseline it’s not like when the point starts, you know that you have the advantage. He plays good. He has every shot.
“If he plays like this until the end of the tournament, he has all the chances to win it.”
Discussing the latter stages of the match, Medvedev revealed that he had felt physically tired, potentially as a result of illness.
“I felt a little bit more tired. Today I felt a little bit sick, I mean the thing is that in the USA I get sick at least once for sure during the swing because the [air conditioning] is just crazy,” said Medvedev, who will be replaced by one of Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz or Casper Ruud as world number one.
“I felt my throat a bit today, physically maybe that played a bit of a role, but at the same time that’s not an excuse at all because Nick played good, he also beat me when I wasn’t sick.”
The notoriously combustible Kyrgios has added more focus to his game, although at one stage he did produce a comedic mistake by running to Medvedev’s side of the court to volley a winner –passing up the chance of a break point.
Seeded 23, Kyrgios will play Russia’s Karen Khachanov in the quarterfinals after the Moscow-born player defeated Spain’sPablo Carreno Busta in a five-set battle in their fourth-round match.
For both Kyrgios and Khachanov, it will be a debut appearance in the last eight at Flushing Meadows.
Tarpischev said Russian 27th seed Khachanov was capable of causing an upset, naming one particular aspect which would be key to his success.
“Khachanov is able to beat Kyrgios, but it’s important that Karen serves well,” he told TASS.
“He’s playing strongly, but Kyrgios breaks up the game, there’s no rhythm, it’s hard for all his opponents to play against him,” added the Russian tennis chief.
Khachanov and Kyrgios are scheduled to play their quarterfinal in New York on Tuesday.
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