Nick Kyrgios and Daniil Medvedev put on one heck of a show during their second round clash at the Canadian Open on Thursday morning (AEST) as the Australian continued his brilliant run of form ahead of this year’s US Open.
Fresh from winning the Citi Open title in Washington, Kyrgios’ class on hard courts was on show once again as he came back from a set down to topple world No. 1 Medvedev 6-7 6-4 6-2.
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Kyrgios has won 14 of his past 15 singles matches, stretching back to his run into the Wimbledon final, which he lost to Novak Djokovic. It’s the second time in his career he’s beaten a world No. 1 and he now boasts a 3-1 head-to-head record against Medvedev, the 2021 US Open champion.
Since landing in the States for the American hard court swing a couple of weeks ago, before heading to Canada, Kyrgios is 15-0 across singles and doubles.
American tennis icon Andy Roddick believes Kyrgios is now the favourite for the US Open, which kicks off in a couple of weeks, while Aussie tennis great Rennae Stubbs was in awe of what the Canberran is producing.
“@NickKyrgios I mean when he plays tennis and keeps his s**t together, he is seriously close to the best tennis player in the world,” Stubbs tweeted.
“His serve is untouchable at the moment. Fitness level is HIGH and his tennis acumen is unreal. That effort after losing the 1st set was impressive.”
Eric Hubbs of Barstool Sports tweeted: “Kyrgios domination continues. Finally playing to his potential and it’s awesome.”
Broadcaster Prakash Amritraj told The Tennis Channel it was a “giant statement” from Kyrgios to defeat the defending Canadian Open champion and reigning US Open champion.
But there is more than just tennis on Kyrgios’ mind. His mother Norlaila is in hospital back home in Australia, and he wrote “be strong, Ma” on the camera after his victory.
Prior to the win over Medevedv Kyrgios spoke about his parents’ health and the challenges of being away from family.
“It’s hard because even travelling now, my mum is in hospital at the moment, my dad hasn’t been very well, my brother just had a baby and I don’t get to be there with my family when normal people would like to be with them,” Kyrgios said.
“It’s hard being from Australia because we can’t travel back and forth. There’s a lot of things people don’t see. They only see me winning, losing, throwing a racquet, doing those things. They don’t really understand the challenges that I face or what people on tour face, what’s going on in their personal lives.”
Speaking to The Tennis Channel after the match, Kyrgios spoke about his desire to make the most of his preparation before the US Open.
“It’s rewarding to beat the world No. 1,” he said. “It’s a reflection of all the hard work I’ve done in Sydney.
“After Washington I could easily come here and be content with what I did last week, but I wanted to empty the tank these two weeks.
“Obviously my ranking’s not where I want it to be, not getting those points at Wimbledon, but I’ve got to capitalise on this little window.”
Kyrgios was the only player to have break points in the first set, but he failed to convert either of his opportunities at 5-4 and then was all over the shop during the tiebreak.
The 27-year-old smashed a ball out of the stadium in anger after dropping the opener, but was back at his mercurial best in the second set. Kyrgios broke Medvedev early on and maintained the rage to close out the set 6-4.
There were the usual antics from Kyrgios, who once again hit out at those in his player’s box.
Writer Allesandro Nivola tweeted: “Nick Kyrgios’s relationship with his box is so disturbing. It’s like a deranged psychopathic dictator and his ‘advisors’. They look terrified of saying the wrong thing or of standing up when they should sit down or of sitting down when they should stand up.”
However, Kyrgios composed himself for the decider to shut out Medvedev and progress to the third round in Montreal, where he will face countryman Alex De Minaur as his red-hot run continues.
Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis won the doubles title in Atlanta then he teamed up with Jack Sock in Washington to take out the Citi Open trophy.
That same day he also cleaned up in the singles draw, defeating Yoshihito Nishioka to win his first title in three years — a feat he last achieved at the same tournament in Washington back in 2019.
Speaking after his win over Nishioka earlier this week, Kyrgios opened up on his “transformation” after coming through some tough times emotionally.
“It was emotional for me to see where I was last year to now, it’s an incredible transformation,” Kyrgios said. “I just came out with great energy because I knew I had the experience on my side today.
“I’ve been in some really dark places and just to be able to turn it around …
“There’s so many people who have helped me get there but myself, I’ve shown some serious strength to just continue and just persevere and get through those really tough times and still be able to perform in tournaments like this one.”