After losing to in-form Nick Kyrgios to end his US Open title defence in the fourth round, Russian Daniil Medvedev has lauded the Australian's performance saying he played to the level of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Kyrgios scored a 7-6 (13-11) 3-6 6-3 6-2 win over the top seed in a little shy of three hours on Sunday night at Flushing Meadows.
The nimble, hard-serving Medvedev hung in with the Wimbledon finalist until the third set, where he lost all momentum and will now lose his world No.1 ranking in his worst showing at the New York hard court major since 2018.
But if he was shamed by the outing in front of a packed crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Medvedev hardly showed it, comparing Kyrgios to his previous US Open finals opponents, 22 and 21-times grand slam winners Nadal and Djokovic.
"It was a high-level match. Played Novak, Rafa. They all play amazing. Nick today played kind of their level, in my opinion. He has a little bit different game because he's not like a grinder in a way. At the same time he can rally," Medvedev said.
"He's tough to play. He has an amazing serve."
The 26-year-old reached the Australian Open final this year and made it as far as the semi-finals in the Cincinnati tune-up tournament but there was a major sign of trouble in the run-up to New York, when Kyrgios knocked him out of his Montreal opener.
"If he plays like this till end of the tournament, he has all the chances to win it," Medvedev, who will see his top ranking go to Nadal, Spain's Carlos Alcaraz or Norwegian Casper Ruud at the tournament's end, added.
"But he's going to get tough opponents, so it's not sure."
Aussie Kyrgios will face Karen Khachanov in the last eight after the Russian's epic five-set win over 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta.
Khachanov, the 27th-seeded, won a three-hour 21-minute battle 4-6 6-3 6-1 4-6 6-3 on Louis Armstrong Stadium for his best-ever result at Flushing Meadows.
"With Pablo, we always have unbelievably tough matches, so I was preparing physically to be the whole match ready, to just play my best," Khachanov said.
Earlier, 13th-seeded Matteo Berrettini reached his second consecutive US Open quarter-final by beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Italy's Australian Open semi-finalist prevailed 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 4-6 6-2 to set up a last-eight date with Ruud, who earned a 6-1 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 win over Corentin Moutet in his first appearance at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
After sharing the first four sets, Davidovich Fokina suffered an injury in the sixth game of the fifth when his leg slipped out from under him.
The Spaniard saw a physio and for a moment it seemed he might be done for the day, but he returned to the court to finish the match to roars of encouragement from the crowd.
"Obviously this is not the way I wanted to finish the match but I'm going to take the win," Berrettini, who has been sidelined a number of times this season due to injuries or illness, including a withdrawal after a positive COVID test from this year's Wimbledon, said.
Fifth seed Ruud, already the first Norwegian man to appear in the third and fourth rounds at the US Open, must reach the final for at least the opportunity to become the first world No.1 from that country.