Australia’s Nick Kyrgios is just one set away from victory over world No.1 Daniil Medvedev at the US Open.
The enigmatic Aussie has been cheered, jeered and booed in a match that has had everything.
Kyrgios fought out a tight opening set to claim the first set in a 13-11 tiebreak, was accused of tanking in the second set that he lost 3-6 before dominating the third set 6-3.
‘I don’t want to say it is semi-tanking, but it is exactly that,’ a commentator said as Kyrgios appeared to surrender the set before a late fightback.
There were worrying scenes in the early exchanges of the third set as Kyrgios went down on the hard court surface after a mis-timed slice shot.
He remained prone on the ground for several seconds, prompting his opponent to cross the court and check on his welfare.
Eventually, though, Kyrgios was able to get to his feet, signal he was fine and continue the match as the crowd’s boos turned into respectful applause.
The jeers quickly returned, though, as Kyrgios claimed a questionable rally that had the commentators left scratching their heads.
‘Is he allowed to do that?’ Todd Woodbridge said in commentary as Kyrgios latched onto a ball on Medvedev’s side of the net and swatting it across court and letting his opponent know all about it.
Kyrgios about to launch another spray in what has been a highly explosive US Open match
‘This is going to be an issue. You can’t do this. You cannot cross the net. The ball’s not dead yet. Kyrgios has basically leant in front of the net and that’s an illegal shot.’
The shot was ruled to be illegal and the point given to Medvedev.
‘What an error in judgement,’ Woodbridge said.
‘That should have been break point. Oh dear. What will be the repercussions of that? I’ve never seen anything like that in all my time in tennis. That is crazy.’
That moment seemed to spark Kyrgios who did not lose another game in the set and was seen laughing toward his supporters box and saying: ‘I honestly was thinking that was legal,’
Kyrgios has raged at the chair umpire and his own supporters box in an explosive display
After dropping the set, Kyrgios turned his rage toward the lack of towels.
‘Do you know how humid it is? One towel at a time?’ he said.
It has been vintage Kyrgios at Arthur Ashe Stadium, with a range of thundering first serves and wildly skilful shots tempered by two smashed racquets and a warning for abusing the chair umpire.
Kyrgios fumed that the use of a service clock was not allowing him enough time to reach his towel and return to the service line in humid New York conditions.
‘I get back from the box and there’s like six seconds,’ he said.
‘I’ve never had a problem with it at this tournament apart from with you.’
It comes after the Aussie used his booming first serve to negate Medvedev’s tactics to nullify Kyrgios’ serve and volley game by playing closer to the net.
Kyrgios smashed his racquet in frustration in the opening set against Medvedev
Both Kyrgios and Medvedev were fired up in their round four match at Arthur Ashe Stadium
‘I don’t recall it for years,’ Woodbridge said in commentary.
‘He’s gone away, had a look at how Kyrgios played him in Montreal… by coming forward he is going to take the serve volley out of the equation.’
Kyrgios also raged at his own box, that included best mate and doubles partner Thanasi Kokkinakis.
‘Tell me where to f***ing serve,’ he raged.
‘F***ing three times. Say something. F***ing hell.’
The fireworks have had an impact on Medvedev, who threatened to walk out on the match if abuse from Kyrgios’ box continued.
‘One more time, I’m not playing anymore,’ he said.
Medvedev claimed the first service break in the second set with Kyrgios serve abandoning him, raising his arms to bring the crowd into the match.
Medvedev tries to get the crowd on his side in his fiery match against Kyrgios at the US Open
Kyrgios, who famously stormed to the final of Wimbledon this year where he was stopped by Novak Djokovic, enjoys a 3-1 career edge over Medvedev.
However the Russian No.1 did not play at Wimbledon after being banned because of his country’s conflict with Ukraine.
The fuse was lit for an explosive match before a ball was served in anger with Kyrgios saying prior to the match that they are ‘not friends’.
The fourth round encounter is the deepest Kyrgios has ever gone at the US Open, while Medvedev needs to win or he will surrender his world No.1 ranking.
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