The Russian’s US Open reign is over after defeat to Nick Kyrgios
Daniil Medvedev’s quest to defend his US Open title is over after the Russian suffered defeat against the irrepressible Nick Kyrgios in an enthralling fourth-round match in New York.
Medvedev, 26, claimed a maiden Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows last year and has since risen to the summit of the ATP rankings, but will lose both his world number one status and US Open crown after a four-set defeat to the in-form Australian on Sunday night.
Kyrgios again proved that, if fully focused, he has the talent to trouble the game’s elite, producing an inspired performance to beat Medvedev 7-6 (13-11), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in a high-quality encounter at Arthur Ashe Stadium which spanned just under three hours.
Medvedev’s loss means he will be replaced by one of Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz, or Casper Ruud as world number one at the conclusion of the US Open.
Kyrios, 27, moves on to a quarterfinal against another Russian, Karen Khachanov, after Khachanov defeated Spanish 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta in their fourth-round meeting on Sunday.
Khachanov, 26, he will know that he is next up against one of the most in-form players on the planet.
Kyrgios is widely seen as playing the best tennis of his career, having made a maiden appearance in a Grand Slam final at Wimbledon in July, where he lost in four sets to Novak Djokovic.
Against Medvedev, the Australian fired down 21 aces and hit 53 winners in another dazzling display – even if there were signs of Kyrgios’ notorious habit of self-sabotage when at one stage he made a ludicrous mistake by crossing onto Medvedev’s side of the net to volley a winner into the ground, surrendering a break point.
“I want to go all the way,” said Kyrgios after his win. “I’m just glad that I am finally able to show New York my talent. I haven’t played great tennis [in the past] to be honest… it’s taken me 27 years.”
After dropping the first set in a titanic tiebreak, Medvedev bounced back to win the second and seemed to have steadied the ship, but Kyrgios came back strongly in the third and fourth sets, applying stifling pressure and never allowing his Russian rival to settle.
There was evident respect between the pair throughout the contest, although there was a complaint in the first set from Medvedev that members of the Australian’s box were disrupting him between his first and second serves.
When it was over, Kyrgios had notched a fourth win in five career matches against Medvedev – also gaining payback for the defeat the Moscow-born ace inflicted on him at the Australian Open at the start of the year.
Medvedev admitted his disappointment at seeing his title defense end but was full of praise for the Australian number 23 seed.
“Nick today played kind of at the level of Djokovic and 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.”
Medvedev suggested he had faded late into the game after struggling physically.
“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 AC [air conditioning] is just crazy. Last year it happened in Cincinnati…
“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.”
When reminded that he would lose his world number one ranking at the end of the tournament, Medvedev said it would serve as motivation to climb back to the summit.
“I mean when you lose a Grand Slam, I’m trying to look good here but I’m disappointed. I’m not going to cry in the room but I’m disappointed.
“So for a few days I’m going to be a little sad, looking at my phone or my laptop and watching some series…
“It was not the first thing on my mind [losing the world number one spot], I actually don’t know which place I will be. But that’s motivation, try to do better,” added Medvedev.
Medvedev’s countryman Khachanov will attempt to achieve what his fellow Russian could not at this year’s US Open when he takes on Kyrgios in New York on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, Russia’s Andrey Rublev, seeded ninth, plays his fourth-round men’s singles match against British seventh seed Cameron Norrie on Monday.