Nick Kyrgios’ bid for a first US Open grand slam title ended with a five-set quarter-final loss to Russia’s Karen Khachanov.
After reaching the Wimbledon final, Kyrgios arrived in New York motivated to try to go one better, but failed to find the same formidable level he showed in defeating defending champion Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round.
Instead, it is Russia’s Khachanov who advances to a major-event semi-final after claiming a 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-4 victory shortly before 01:00.
After congratulating Khachanov, Kyrgios showed his disappointment with the result by destroying two rackets and then quickly exiting the court.
Kyrgios and Khachanov were tied 1-1 in their previous meetings on court, while off court they were embroiled in a Twitter spat two years ago over player behavior during the coronavirus pandemic, with Kyrgios he describes his opponent as an “absolute pelican”. .
After the high of his performance against Medvedev on Sunday, Kyrgios looked a bit out of sorts in the early stages of this contest.
He took a medical timeout after missing the opening set for treatment on his left knee after complaining in his box that he couldn’t walk.
The Australian roused himself to take the second set and it was clear that the third was crucial in determining how the match would go.
Kyrgios had two chances to break at 4-4 but was unable to get any, hurling his racket after the second.
Khachanov missed a glorious chance to break in the next game with Kyrgios losing focus but curled a forehand over the net.
More chances came on Kyrgio’s next serve, however, and this time the Russian converted, leaving his furious opponent thundering into his box and earning an unsportsmanlike conduct warning after knocking a drink bottle to the ground.
The 27-year-old has already been fined a total of $18,500 (£16,000) for four separate offenses at this tournament, including spitting, swearing and breaking his racket.
Kyrgios was staring down the barrel late in the fourth set but then produced an excellent tiebreak to force a decider.
The crowd was firmly on Kyrgios’ side, but Khachanov was determined not to let his chance go to waste and broke serve in the first game.
Kyrgios pushed hard to get back on level terms but Khachanov, ranked 31st, battled to the finish line to set up a semi-final clash with Casper Ruud, who defeated Matteo Berrettini earlier.