Medvedev vs. Kyrgios in blockbuster U.S. Open round of 16

Kyrgios defeated Medvedev the last time they met less than a month ago in Montreal, and their meeting predicted at the hardcourt Grand Slam since the U.S. Open draw was announced

Published - September 03, 2022 03:28 pm IST - NEW YORK

World no. 1 Daniil Medvedev (left) will face World no. 5 Nick Kyrgios in the U.S. Open fourth round.

World no. 1 Daniil Medvedev (left) will face World no. 5 Nick Kyrgios in the U.S. Open fourth round. | Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

Defending champion Daniil Medvedev cruised into the fourth round of the U.S. Open with a straightforward 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory over Chinese qualifier Wu Yibing on Friday to set up a blockbuster clash with Australia’s Nick Kyrgios.

The Russian blazed past Stefan Kozlov and Arthur Rinderknech in the last two rounds and looked every bit the champion again, as he fired 12 aces and converted six of 12 break points to comfortably dispatch his 22-year-old opponent.

“If you ask me what I could improve, I don’t see many things,” Medvedev said of his title defence. “Maybe a little bit less double-faults, but that’s if we’re trying to dig somewhere. If not, high-level match.

““I want to be playing in the biggest stadiums in the world in front of millions of people broadcasted globally. I know a lot of people don’t want me to succeed and hate my game, the way I do things, the way I go about it.””Nick Kyrgios

“If I continue this way, have good opportunities to do something big. But the next match is not easy. Going to try to recover well and be 100% for the next one.”

Medvedev’s win in front of an emotional Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd following Serena Williams’ loss to Ajla Tomljanovic meant he has reached the round of 16 at Flushing Meadows for the fourth straight year.

Wu, who became the first Chinese man in U.S. Open history to reach the third round, was plagued by several unforced errors in the clash as Medvedev prevailed in an hour and 55 minutes.

After sealing a closely contested first set, Medvedev broke early to race ahead 5-1 in the next and closed it out in style to take full control of the contest.

The third set followed a similar pattern as Wu crumbled under the relentless pressure, with Medvedev staying on course to become the first player to win consecutive U.S. Open titles since Roger Federer’s run of five between 2004 and 2008.

But a defeat to Kyrgios in the next round would see Medvedev lose his number one ranking to Rafa Nadal after the tournament.

“We’ve played great matches. All have been quite tight on the scoreboard,” said Medvedev, who has lost three of his four previous meetings with Kyrgios, including the last one in Montreal less than a month ago.

“It’s 3-1 to him but I’ll try to do better this time and it’ll be a great match for people to watch.”

Not exactly friends, says Medvedev

Medvedev said he was aware of what he needed to do on Sunday against the temperamental Australian, who is playing the best tennis of his career, having finished runner-up at Wimbledon and winning in Washington, D.C. in the lead-up to U.S. Open.

“I don’t think we are friends. When I say ‘friends’, we haven’t been to the bar together,” Medvedev said with a smile.

“I feel like we respect each other a lot. On the court also we never really had any fight or anything, which can change any moment. We are both quite electric. You never know what’s going to happen in the future.

“Nick is a little bit different from other tennis players sometimes on the court. That’s his choice. That’s his life. I’m not the one to judge.”

Nick Kyrgios beats J.J. Wolf 6-4 6-2 6-3

Australian Nick Kyrgios reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open for the first time on Friday, notching a routine win over American wildcard J.J. Wolf 6-4 6-2 6-3 to set up a blockbuster Sunday showdown against reigning champion Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev also saved precious energy in a straight-sets win in the night’s final contest against China’s Wu Yibing at the Arthur Ashe Stadium shortly after Serena Williams’ Flushing Meadows farewell on the same court.

Kyrgios defeated the Russian the last time they met, less than a month ago in Montreal, and their meeting was marked as one of the highlight probable matches at the hardcourt Grand Slam since the draws were announced.

“I want to be playing in the biggest stadiums in the world in front of millions of people broadcasted globally,” the temperamental Australian said.

“That’s where I want to be. That is why I work hard. It makes it even sweeter. I know a lot of people don’t want me to succeed. I know a lot of people hate my game, the way I do things, the way I go about it.”

Kyrgios harnessed his mighty serve to clinch his third round match in an efficient hour and 56 minutes, whacking 21 aces at his opponent and sending over 35 winners, as he wrested the momentum early with a break in the fifth game of the first set.

There were few fireworks as Kyrgios defended all seven breaks he faced inside Louis Armstrong Stadium, where he earned a $7,500 fine for “spitting and audible obscenities” during his second-round meeting with France’s Benjamin Bonzi.

With the sporting world’s eyes laser-focussed on neighbouring showcourt, as Williams fell to Ajla Tomljanovic in dramatic fashion in what is widely expected to be her final tournament, Kyrgios’ lopsided win prompted little fanfare.

But it nonetheless marked the latest in a stellar run for Kyrgios, who is playing the best tennis of his career after winning in Washington, D.C., and reaching his first Grand Slam final at the All England Club.

Kyrgios’ gameplan against Medvedev

Kyrgios said he knew exactly the way he was going to play against Medvedev.

“There’s no shame in losing to a player like that. But the way I’m playing, the game plan, and the success I had against him obviously in Montreal, I definitely feel like I have a fighting chance,” Kyrgios said.

“Not many players can say that right now, going in to play Medvedev at the U.S. Open.”

“We’ve got major respect for each other. I’ve got major respect for his coach as well. He’s a great guy. Been really nice to me. Look, I think it’s going to be a fun battle.” 

With input from agencies.

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