Nick Kyrgios crushed world No 1 Daniil Medvedev's dreams of a title defence at the US Open on Sunday with a 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory to reach the quarter-finals and ensure there will be a new top ranked player when the tournament concludes.
In a meeting worthy of a Broadway show between two of the game's biggest servers and most combustible personalities, it was the fiery Australian who was the better in the match's biggest moments, showing off a renewed focus and fitness.
"It was an amazing match," Kyrgios said in an on-court interview before a sold-out crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"Daniil is the defending champion so there's a lot of pressure on his shoulders, but I played really well. I've been playing amazing the last couple months and what a place to do it, packed house in New York.
"I'm extremely blessed."
Kyrgios delights in shunning the norms of tennis and did so again in a bizarre moment early in the third set when he ran around the net to hit a ball that Medvedev had sent high in the air, leading Kyrgios to celebrate.
The play cost Kyrgios the point but seemingly raised his spirits as he would break for 3-1 and take the set with one of his perfectly executed drop shot.
In the fourth, Kyrgios broke early for a 2-1 lead he would not relinquish and Medvedev began to crumble from there, hitting balls against the back wall in frustration as he realised the match was out of reach.
"I still can't believe the boneheaded play I made over here," Kyrgios said of the play where he crossed over to Medvedev's side.
"I thought that was legal to be honest. That's going to be everywhere on SportsCenter so I'm going to look like an idiot but that's alright."
The 27-year-old Wimbledon finalist is playing the best tennis of his life, recording the most wins on tour since the end of the French Open.
"I'm just trying to work hard every day, try to make every practice session count, getting to sleep," he said.
"I would have probably been out every night before but now I've got a great girlfriend. She helps me, and my team."
The 23rd-seeded Kyrgios will be a heavy favourite to beat 27th seed Karen Khachanov when they meet on Tuesday.
Gauff brings the noise to reach quarter-finals
Coco Gauff raised a fist, then wagged her right index finger, responding to, and riling up even more, a loud-louder-loudest Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd that was standing and screaming. Gauff's US Open opponent, Zhang Shuai, covered both ears with her hands to shield them from what she described later as a "Boom!" of sound.
Gauff and her fans were reacting excitedly to quite a point, one in which the 18-year-old Floridian raced to her right for a defensive forehand, then changed directions to sprint and slide into a backhand that drew a netted volley from Zhang. Just four points later, Gauff was a quarter-finalist at Flushing Meadows for the first time.
Gauff, the French Open runner-up in June, came back in each set to beat China's Zhang 7-5, 7-5 on Sunday to become the youngest American to make it this far at the US Open since Melanie Oudin was 17 in 2009.
“Here, I can’t hear myself scream. Makes me want to do it more. I think I’m feeding off the momentum a lot. I enjoy it,” said No 12 seed Gauff, who meets No 17 Caroline Garcia of France on Tuesday.
“New York is bringing out a side of me that I haven’t had since I was 15, so it’s nice.”
After trailing 5-4 in the opening set, then 5-3 in the second, which she was a point from losing, Gauff was buoyed by spectators who cheered her every point and chanted “Let’s go, Coco!” as the end neared. She improved to 4-0 in Ashe this year after having never previously won a match at the biggest arena in Grand Slam tennis.
How loud was it?
“It got so racuous in there that I got a headache. I had to take an Advil,” said Gauff's father, Corey. “I kept pinching myself. I'm like, ‘My gosh, all of these people here for my daughter.' You dream about this, but you never know if you’re going to realize that. She was pumping herself up and they responded to her. It sent chills up my spine.”
Zhang, at 33 the oldest woman to reach the fourth round, said it was more noise than she's ever heard at a match.
She praised Gauff's play, calling her “a superstar” and adding: “Everything is very good. She's so much younger than me. Her energy is so much better. She's faster. She's powerful.”
They competed mostly from the baseline, and the longer the exchanges, the more success Gauff found: She claimed a 45-26 edge in points that lasted five or more strokes.
Garcia is coming off a hard-court title at Cincinnati and stretched her winning streak to 12 matches by defeating No 29 Alison Riske-Amritraj of the United States 6-4, 6-1.
“I’m super excited, actually, to play Coco — in US, in New York, quarter-final of a Slam. It's great,” Garcia said.