Two of the game’s top young hopes will face off in what could be a thriller on Day 6 of the US Open. Andrey Rublev and Nick Kyrgios will both fancy their chances of making the semi-final in the most open quarter of the draw and the winner of this match may well be considered the favourite to do so.
Kyrgios had been courting drama like only he can in the warm up tournaments but has put in two strong performances with the minimum of a fuss to make it to the third round. Steve Johnson and Antoine Hoang are hardly the toughest duo to get there but he has been clinical so far with his 24 aces in each of the wins helping him to straight sets victories. “Obviously he’s a quality opponent being in the second round here, so I knew it would be tough but I had to serve and play big. That’s what happened.” he said afterwards.
Rublev made his first quarter final of a slam here a few years back and is in a good position to return there after two matches this week. He was in control against Stefanos Tsitsipas before injury to the Greek made the outcome a foregone conclusion. He played just one set against Gilles Simon on Thursday before the Frenchman retired, meaning he will be fresh ahead of this one.
“New York has a fair bit of distractions, so I’m trying to stay away from that. But this is one of my favourite tournaments of the year, so I’m really trying to strap in and do well this week. I want to stay focused.” Kyrgios added. Kyrgios’ talents have never been in question but the mental side and keeping focused has to be a large part of why he comes into the tournament ranked at 30 rather than much closer to No.3. With a first slam semi final a distinct possibility, it may be what is needed for him to avoid drama. Both he and Rublev are technically excellent shotmakers so this could be an excellent one to watch, hopefully for what happens while the ball is in play rather than when it isn’t.
Prediction – Nick Kyrgios in five sets