After losing a strange point, Kyrgios regrouped and stunned Medvedev at the US Open

NEW YORK (Associated Press) – Nick Kyrgios sat in the locker room at Arthur Ashe Stadum after ending Daniil Medvedev’s US Open title defense and staying number one in the world rankings, feeling a mixture of pride and relief.

Pride of great service, and a solid performance that resulted in a 7-6 (11) 3-6 6-3, 6-2 victory over Medvedev on Sunday night, the latest in a string of career-changing results. who carried Kyrgios to his first quarter-final at Flushing Meadows following his run to his first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon.

He said Pride is getting himself out of “some really tough situations, mentally” and “some really scary places” out of court, which he first revealed in February. He continued his pride, in disassociating himself from “feeling so depressed all the time, so he feels sorry for myself.”

To relief, Kyrgios explained, fiddling with his gray Boston Celtics hat at his post-game press conference, when he’s able to show up when the lights are brighter and the stakes high, “because there’s a lot of pressure every time I go out to court, there’s a lot of Expectations, a lot of unpredictability of what I can do.”

The 27-year-old Australian has not made it past the third round of the US Open yet, as he has been leading 0-4 at that point in the past, seeded 23rd Kyrgios. Nor has he successfully tapped into his unquestioned skill of superb play with any semblance of consistency he has shown recently.

“I’m glad I was finally able to show my talent to New York,” Kyrgios said after serving 21 aces and using his usual technique to take on Medvedev. “I haven’t had many great trips here.”

He reached the Grand Slam semi-final, and then the Grand Slam final, at the All England Club in July, before losing to Novak Djokovic in the title match. Kyrgios then won his first ATP title in three years in Washington in August. He followed this up by defeating Medvedev in the hard court tournament in Montreal soon after. Leading the ATP Tour in match wins since June.

Medvedev likened the way Kyrgios played on Sunday to the level regularly reached by Rafael Nadal, who holds 22 grand slam titles and plays his fourth-round match on Monday against American Frances Tiafoe and Djokovic, who has 20 major trophies but is not at the US Open because He was not vaccinated against COVID-19 and therefore was not allowed to travel to the United States.

“I didn’t miss a lot,” Medvedev said. “It didn’t really surprise me.” “If he plays like that until the end of the tournament, he has every chance of winning it.”

Wouldn’t that be a thing?

Kyrgios is still Kyrgios during the match, and it was again this evening.

Unsure of the relevant rule, he lost a point by running around the net to hit a ball that would have landed away, then celebrated what he thought was a great play by raising his finger to make an “I’m Number 1” gesture.

During his in-court interview, Kyrgios shyly told the audience, “I still can’t believe the ponyhead play you gave here. I thought it was legal. It would be all over ‘SportsCenter,’ so I’m going like an asshole.”

He shouted at his guests box. He argued with the rule of the chair and issued a warning for swearing. He hit a ball in anger that bounced off a blue wall behind a baseline, getting close to flying and landing among the spectators.

Meanwhile, Medvedev has been playing well enough to win all nine sets he played in the first week and appears ready to give himself a chance to become the first man to win back-to-back titles in New York since Roger Federer snatched his last five sets in one game. row from 2004-08.

But the 26-year-old Russian said he was bothered by a sore throat and generally “felt a little sick”, which he attributed to the extremely powerful air conditioners in the US that he found “just crazy”.

And now Medvedev – whose victory over Djokovic in the 2021 US Open final ended his first calendar year in men’s tennis since 1969 – will relinquish the top spot. Three players have a chance to replace him there: Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud.

“I feel like tonight was another message that ranking doesn’t matter,” said Kyrgios, who will meet 27th seed Karen Khachanov for a place in the semi-finals.

Kyrgios said that had he won Wimbledon, he might not have appeared at the US Open at all. If he could win a Grand Slam title, he thought, the impulse to win one would dissipate.

Just before the start of this tournament, Kyrgios sat with a small group of reporters and talked about the loss of home – his brother had recently given birth to a child; His mother was ill – and he can’t wait to return to Australia after months. He said his first-round match would be “a win for everyone”: “If I win, that means more money and another great result. If I lose, I’m going home.”

On Sunday evening, Kyrgios was asked if he still thinks this way.

“There are more matches and we will probably never have to play tennis again,” came the response.

Then Kyrgios grinned.