Australia’s maverick men’s tennis star, Nick Kyrgios will face top seed, Spain’s Rafael Nadal in the last 16 at the Australian Open – after a feisty five-set win over Karen Khachanov.
Megasportsarena.com reports that Kyrgios, who missed match points in the third and fourth sets, won 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (6-8) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-8).
The Australian, 24, needed nearly four-and-a-half hours to win a tense third-round match against the Russian – having led by two sets and a break.
But he came through in a final-set tie-break at a boisterous Melbourne Arena; and said afterwards: “That’s one of the best wins of my career. It was insane.”
Kyrgios leads 2-1 in his head-to-head record on hard courts against Nadal, with whom he has rarely seen eye-to-eye.
The pair, who will meet at Melbourne Park on Monday, last faced each other on grass at Wimbledon in July when 19-time Grand Slam champion Nadal won in four sets.
The 33-YEAR-OLD Nadal cruised past compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1 6-2 6-4 in his third-round match earlier on Saturday.
The world number one and Spanish top seed wrapped up a straightforward win about seven hours earlier than Kyrgios, whose brutal contest against Khachanov lasted for four hours and 26 minutes.
Nadal cruised past his Spanish compatriot in straight sets to reach the Australian Open fourth round, as he was sharp on serve as he raced into a two-set lead, allowing Busta just five return points.
Busta, seeded 27th, fared little better in the third as Nadal wrapped up a 6-1 6-2 6-4 win and the 19-time Grand Slam champion will face Kyrgios in the last 16.
Also through on Saturday was fifth seed Dominic Thiem, who will next face Gael Monfils in the Australian Open fourth round after beating Taylor Fritz 6-2 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4.
The 26-year-old broke the American on three occasions to take a 2-0 lead before the 29th seed edged his Austrian opponent in the third-set tie-break.
Thiem secured victory in the 10th game of a tight fourth set when he broke his opponent to love, to set up a date with Monfils, who beat Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-3.