Nick Kyrgios’ quest for a first grand slam title at the US Open ended with a five-set quarter-final defeat by Russia’s Karen Khachanov.
After reaching the Wimbledon final, Kyrgios arrived in New York motivated to try to go one better but he was unable to find the same tremendous level he showed in beating defending champion Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round.
Instead it is Russian Khachanov who progresses to a first slam semi-final after clinching a 7-5 4-6 7-5 6-7 (3) 6-4 victory just before 1am.
Having congratulated Khachanov, Kyrgios showed his frustration with the result by destroying two rackets and then walking swiftly off court.
Kyrgios and Khachanov were tied at 1-1 in their previous meetings on the court while, off the court, they were involved in a Twitter spat two years ago over player behaviour during the coronavirus pandemic, with Kyrgios labelling his rival an “absolute pelican”.
After the high of his performance against Medvedev on Sunday, Kyrgios looked a little flat in the early stages of this contest.
He took a medical timeout after losing the opening set for treatment on his left knee, having complained to his box that he could not walk.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 7, 2022
The Australian roused himself to take the second set and it was clear the third was crucial in determining how the match would go.
I’ve also been feeding the hungry, helping open up new facilities for kids to get active. But way to do your research you absolute pelican.
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) September 30, 2020
Kyrgios had two chances to break at 4-4 but could not take either, hurling his racket angrily after the second.
Khachanov missed a glorious chance to break in the next game with Kyrgios losing focus but shanked a forehand wide from on top of the net.
However, more chances arrived in the next Kyrgios service game and this time the Russian converted, leaving his furious opponent to rant at his box and earn a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct after slamming a drinks bottle on the ground.
The 27-year-old has already been fined a total of 18,500 US dollars (approximately £16,000) for four separate offences this tournament, including spitting, swearing and smashing his racket.
Kyrgios was staring down the barrel late in the fourth set but then pulled out a brilliant tie-break to force a decider.
The crowd were firmly on Kyrgios’ side but Khachanov was determined not to let his opportunity slip away and broke serve in the opening game.
Kyrgios pressed hard to get back on level terms but Khachanov, ranked 31, resisted all the way to the finish line to set up a semi-final clash with Casper Ruud, who defeated Matteo Berrettini earlier.