Despite a strange gaffe that cost Nick Kyrgios a break point opportunity early in the third set, the Australian recovered well to take a 7-6(11), 3-6, 6-3 lead against World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round of the US Open.
It has been an intense, entertaining encounter inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, where both men have played high-level tennis and brought the crowd to its feet with quality shotmaking fitting of the occasion.
Former World No. 1 Andy Roddick was among those who provided his thoughts on social media, tweeting, “This is awesome stuff. Super high level. Heavyweight fight.”
This is awesome stuff. Super high level. Heavyweight fight
— andyroddick (@andyroddick) September 4, 2022
Early in the third set, Kyrgios made what could have been a critical mistake. Leading 1-0 and at 30/30 on Medvedev’s serve, the 23rd seed rushed around the net and swatted away a ball that was not going to land anywhere close to the net. By rule, if a ball does not land on your side of the net and spin back to your opponent’s side of the court, you are not allowed to touch the ball on that side.
Kyrgios put a finger up in celebration, thinking he had just earned a spot on the highlight reel. Instead, the point went to Medvedev, who escaped the game. Although that seemed it would be a criticl juncture, the action proved otherwise. Kyrgios broke from 40/0 down in Medvedev’s next service game and served through the rest of the set without difficulty to move within a set of the quarter-finals.
The pair clashed just weeks ago in Montreal, where Kyrgios triumphed to take a 3-1 lead in their ATP Head2Head series. If Medvedev loses this match, he will relinquish his No. 1 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings the Monday after the US Open.
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After Kyrgios brought out his showmanship early and tried to rally the crowd, Medvedev did the same, often encouraging fans inside Arthur Ashe Stadium to get louder with a wave. Early on, Medvedev showed a different returning strategy than he did in Canada, standing far closer to the baseline. Later in the set, he would mix it up to give his big-serving opponent different looks.
The defending champion overcame an early break deficit to push the set to a tie-break, in which he rallied from 3/5 down to earn three set points. On the third of those set points, at 8/7, Kyrgios hit a tricky backhand volley that just clipped the singles line.
Kyrgios put on the pressure from there, using his drop shot to great effect in the latter stages of the tie-break. On the set point he converted, the Australian faked a drop shot, leading to a missed passing shot from Medvedev.
This year’s Wimbledon runner-up and Citi Open champion was unable to sustain his momentum, though. Kyrgios played a poor opening service game in the second set and Medvedev took full advantage, seizing an immediate break and surging ahead 5-1. The set got complicated as the Australian rediscovered his focus, but Kyrgios missed a neutral backhand long to allow his opponent to level the clash.
Medvedev must reach the final at Flushing Meadows to keep alive his hopes of retaining World No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings after the US Open.