Kyrgios wins five-set epic to set up Nadal match

Kyrgios wins five-set epic to set up Nadal match

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Nick Kyrgios will face top seed Rafael Nadal in the last 16 at the Australian Open after an “insane” five-set win over Karen Khachanov.

Kyrgios, who missed match points in the third and fourth sets, won 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (6-8) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-8).

The Australian, 24, needed nearly four-and-a-half hours to win a tense third-round match against the Russian – having led by two sets and a break.

But he came through in a final-set tie-break at a boisterous Melbourne Arena.

Kyrgios played down disagreements with the world No 1 – against whom he has a 2-1 record on hard courts – after some barbed exchanges between the two.

“Regardless, if we don’t like each other or whatever, I think there’s a layer of respect,” Kyrgios said after his five-set thriller with Russia’s Karen Khachanov.

“He’s one of the greatest of all time. I also read that he thinks I’m good for the sport.

“There’s a layer of respect that we both have for each other. Doesn’t necessarily mean we like each other, but we’re going to go out there and give contrasting styles and personalities.”

“It was definitely one of the craziest matches I’ve ever been a part of,” Kyrgios said.

Kyrgios leads 2-1 in his head-to-head record on hard courts against Nadal, with whom he has rarely seen eye-to-eye, although the 19-time Grand Slam champion leads 4-3 on all surfaces.

The pair, who will meet at Melbourne Park on Monday, last faced each other on grass at Wimbledon in July when Nadal won in four sets.

 

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