Russia’s Karen Khachanov has claimed a career-best win at the hands of Nick Kyrgios, overcoming the Australian in a gruelling five-set quarterfinal at the US Open.
As with most Kyrgios-Khachanov sets in the past, the opener looked headed to a tiebreaker with neither player troubled in the first 11 service games.
Before a loose game from Kyrgios at 5-6, including a double fault at deuce, allowed the Russian to snatch the first set.
The Australian then took a medical timeout sighting a lower left leg injury – appearing to be in serious discomfort before returning to the court in immaculate fashion.
Breaking Khachanov to start the second, Kyrgios had the New York crowd in full voice and carried the momentum to level the quarterfinal at a set a piece.
The third set followed a similar pattern to the opener – with Kyrgios unable to break the Russian’s serve despite a major opportunity at 4-4.
But once again, it was Khachanov who seized his chance at 5-6 to take a stranglehold of the match.
Having contested more matches than any other man since June – and while playing with calf soreness – Kyrgios may have seemed down and out to many.
Far from finished in his own mind, the Australian fought his way to a fourth set tiebreak – playing one his best to take it 7-3 and force a decider.
But it simply wasn’t to be for Kyrgios in the end, broken early in the fifth and unable to level it at any point.
"It's just devastating. It's heartbreaking," Kyrgios said in his post-match press conference.
"I feel like these four tournaments are the only ones that are ever going to matter, and I have to start it all over again and I have to wait till the Australian Open."
Full credit to Karen Khachanov, whose level did not drop throughout, and lifted deep into the fifth – he moves into a maiden Grand Slam semi-final against Casper Ruud.
Earlier on Tuesday in New York, Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic also bowed out of singles action, falling to No. 5 seed Ons Jabeur 4-6, 6-7(4) in a tight contest.
"I was pretty disappointed with my serving today, I think that was the biggest thing that let me down," Tomljanovic said in her post-match press conference.
"I had to adjust my game a little bit and be more aggressive. It wasn't working what I came in with."
"Overall, making the quarters is always a good week, but at the same time I can learn a lot from this match and the experience can only help me," Tomljanovic said.
On the doubles court, Australian Ellen Perez and her American partner Nicole Melichar-Martinez came from a set down to defeat Kirsten Flipkens and Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4, continuing their astonishing form, winning their 16th match from their last 18 to advance to the semifinals.