Australia’s Nick Kyrgios has raced past soon-to-be world number one Rafael Nadal in straight sets to reach the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Open.
Showcasing everything brilliant and exciting about his mercurial style, Kyrgios is through to the second Masters semi of his career, against David Ferrer, after stunning Spanish legend Nadal with an exhibition of big serving and hitting. It was the Aussie’s 100th victory on the ATP Tour and a sure sign he is back to form.
It was an unusual meeting for both men, playing their second match of the day due to rain delays at the tournament. Kyrgios earlier beat Ivo Karlovic 4-6 7-6(6) 6-3 in the third round, while Nadal beat Albert Ramos Vinolas 7-6(1) 6-2.
Kyrgios raced to a 4-0 lead thanks to a double-break in the first set, rattling winner after winner past Nadal.
The crowd briefly turned on Kyrgios when he played a nonchalant shot between his legs, allowing Nadal to finish off an easy winner, prompting boos from spectators who thought it disrespectful.
Nevertheless, at four games to the good, it was a message to Nadal the Canberran could do whatever he wanted in that set, and the Spaniard looked powerless to stop it.
His serve proved unplayable in the first, and his touch looked just as deft as he guided a delicate backhand return of serve past Nadal late on.
The first set finished at 6-2 in Kyrgios’s favour, wrapped up inside 25 minutes.
Nadal looked a different beast at the start of the second, with his serve back on target to hold to a 2-1 lead.