Russia’s Karen Khachanov meets one of the most in-form players on the planet when he takes on Australian rival Nick Kyrgios in their US Open quarterfinal on Tuesday night in New York – although there is hope for Khachanov to prevail, according to Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpischev.
Kyrgios, 27, continued his scintillating summer streak by dumping out defending champion and world number one Daniil Medvedev in the last 16 at Flushing Meadows at the weekend, and next meets another Russian in the form of 27th seed Khachanov.
Khachanov, 26, booked his spot in a maiden US Open quarterfinal after overcoming Spanish 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta in their fourth-round clash.
Considering his form – which also saw him contest a first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon in July – Kyrgios is tipped by many as the favorite for the match, and potentially the US Open title.
But the Aussie star is known just as much for his temperamental character as his on-court talent – despite seemingly reining in the more combustible aspects of his game at recent tournaments.
Russian tennis boos Tarpischev noted that Kyrgios can be “unpredictable,” which might work in Khachanov’s favor.
“Kyrgios is on a roll, but in a five-set match everything will be decided by the serve,” he told RIA Novosti.
“This is the main weapon of both. Kyrgios is unpredictable, this is the first year when he’s been playing so consistently.
“Let’s see how focused he will be in the match with Karen, as it will be very difficult for Kyrgios to play two matches in a row [at the same level] as he did with Medvedev.”
Prior to the match, the head-to-head record between Kyrgios and Khachanov is 1-1, with Kyrgios winning their last encounter at the Australian Open in five sets back in 2020.
The Moscow-born Khachanov had won their first meeting in 2019 at the Cincinnati Masters.
Elsewhere, Russia has another representative in the last eight of the men’s singles in New York after ninth seed Andrey Rublev saw off Britain’s Cameron Norrie in straights sets on Monday.
It was an impressive win for Rublev, 24, as he moves into a third career quarterfinal at Flushing Meadows and will next face Rafael Nadal’s last-16 conqueror, home hero Frances Tiafoe.
Tarpischev said that despite fervent support for the American from the New York crowd, that would not necessarily play a role in the clash on Wednesday.
“I don’t think that the advantage of the [home] court is a factor in Tiafoe’s favor,” said Tarpischev, adding: “We’re used to playing in conditions like that.”
The Russian tennis chief said a healthy first serve percentage would help Rublev pass through the challenge as he is playing with “speed and stability.”
“Andrey played one of the best matches of the tournament [against Norrie]. Due to his activity and power from the baseline, he didn’t let Norrie breathe, didn’t give him time to prepare, didn’t allow him to keep up with the speed of the ball and [Norrie] made lots of mistakes.”
Tarpischev praised Tiafoe, 24, as an “interesting” player who was well worthy of his win over Nadal – a feat which made him the youngest American man into the US Open last eight since Andy Roddick in 2006.
Nadal stunned by home hero at US Open (VIDEO)
The winner of the Rublev-Tiafoe match will meet either Spanish third seed Carlos Alcaraz or Italian number 11 seed Jannik Sinner in the last four in New York.
The victor in the Kyrgios versus Khachanov match will face either Italian 13th seed Matteo Berrettini or Norwegian fifth seed Casper Ruud in the semifinals.
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