The disappointment of the US Open defeat to Karen Khachanov dawned on Nick Kyrgios in the early hours of the morning. Despite adding a first quarter-final appearance in New York to his impressive roster of achievements in recent months, the Australian’s desire to go deeper into the draw made it difficult for him to draw any positives from his loss of five sets.
“I feel like I’ve let so many people down,” said Kyrgios, who was trying to bolster his run to his first major final at Wimbledon in July. “It’s just devastating. It’s heartbreaking. Not just for me, but for everyone I know who wants me to win.”
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Kyrgios fired 31 aces and battled Khachanov for three hours 39 minutes at Arthur Ashe Stadium, but he felt a slow start cost him dear as the 27th seed survived the Australian to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final.
“[I] just came out flat,” Kyrgios said. “Physically I didn’t feel great. Then I finally felt great towards the end of the match.
“I’m clearly devastated. But all credit to Karen. He’s a fighter. He’s a warrior. I thought he served really well today. Honestly probably the best server I’ve played this tournament, to be honest , the way he got his places under pressure.”
Kyrgios impressed in opening week in New York, passing close friend Thanasi Kokkinakis, Benjamin Bonzi and JJ Wolf before putting in a stunning fourth round performance to end Daniil Medvedev’s title defense. The 23rd seed came within a set of reaching his first semifinal at Flushing Meadows, but admitted Khachanov was too good at the key moments.
“He just played the big points well,” Kyrgios said. “[There] there was really nothing in it. I’m clearly broken. Just feeling like it either won everything or nothing at all, to be honest. I feel like I have failed at this event at this point. That’s how it feels.”
After failing to make the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP rankings in March, Kyrgios’ run these two weeks has taken him to 19th in the Pepperstone ATP Live rankings, making him the No. 1 Australian. The 27-year-old’s physical commitment, having racked up 26 wins since the start of the grass season in June, has been high and he played away the fear around his knee after exacerbating it during Tuesday night’s game.
“Only [my] knee [is] pain,” Kyrgios said. “Of course I’ve been playing a lot of tennis in the last few months. I just came out … I just split and tweaked it a bit. Finally felt good. I put some Deep Heat on it. Everyone’s on a bit of a glitch at the moment. Nothing major.”
With plans now to return to Australia for a break from tournament play, Kyrgios can look back on a highly successful few months on the Tour winning his seventh tour-level singles trophy at the Citi Open ATP 500 event in Washington. He also won the doubles title in the US capital alongside Kokkinakis, and the Australian Open-winning pair still have a strong chance of qualifying for November’s Nitto ATP Finals. Kokkinakis and Kyrgios are currently sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams rankings.