Nick Kyrgios reached the quarter-finals of the US Open by channelling Roger Federer and the draw has opened up sufficiently for him to wear the ‘favourite’ tag all the way to his first grand slam final, says Wally Masur.
Masur is in awe of Kyrgios’ performance against Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round of the New York major, with the former top-line coach even declaring his four-set triumph over the world No.1 “his finest moment thus far in his career”.
“He’s inside the court, he’s taking the ball on the rise, he’s being aggressive, it’s playing hard-court tennis, he’s playing hard-court tennis, and Nick, after all these years, you are venturing forward. Thank you,” Masur said on Stan Sport’s Grand Slam Daily.
“He’s had the ability to do this but has chosen not to. He’s chosen to kind of go toe-to-toe with people from the back … of course he has this brilliant serve that keeps him in every match.
“He showed us his full range of creativity and flare (in the Medvedev clash). I mean, he’s more Roger Federer than Rafael Nadal. Play like it, be creative, just take the match away from your opponent and play it on your terms — and that’s what he did.
“Now, it’s all very well to say that, but you’ve got to execute — and execute he did.”
Kyrgios, the tournament’s 23rd seed, will meet 27th seed Karen Khachanov as he pursues a spot in the semi-finals.
The head-to-head ledger between Kyrgios and Khachanov is even, with the Russian defeating the Australian at the 2019 Cincinnati Open and Kyrgios hitting back at the 2020 Australian Open.
Beyond Khachanov, the draw has opened right up for Kyrgios, with the man Masur was tipping to win through to the final from the bottom half of the draw, Nadal, eliminated on Tuesday morning (AEST) by Frances Tiafoe.
Tiafoe will now play Russian Andrey Rublev, with the winner of that match to meet one of Marin Cilic, Carlos Alcarez, Jannik Sinner or Ilya Ivashka for a place in the final.
In the top half of the draw, if Kyrgios can get by Khachanov, he’ll play the winner of the Matteo Berrettini vs Casper Ruud quarter final.
Of the remaining players in the draw, only Cilic has previously won a grand slam (the 2014 US Open), with Kyrgios and Berrettini the only others to have played in a major final.
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