Nick Kyrgios delivered another tennis masterclass to put Alex de Minaur to the sword and scorch into the quarter-finals of the Montreal Masters 1000. De Minaur entered the first-time showdown with his Davis Cup teammate as Australian No 1, but was handed a reality check in a 6-2, 6-3 mauling at the hands of the hottest player on tour.
Kyrgios needed barely an hour to wrap up a 15th win from his past 16 matches and guarantee himself another important rankings boost ahead of the US Open starting on 29 August.
At times it looked like Kyrgios was toying with de Minaur, who barely won a point in the opening four games. He finally got on the board but Kyrgios, mixing stylish serve-volley plays with ferocious power from the back, effortlessly took the opening set in 23 minutes before immediately grabbing an early break in the second.
He briefly lost composure after failing to serve out the match at 5-2 but regained his cool to clinch victory with a ruthless fourth break of de Minaur’s serve.
“I did what had to be done. He’s a hell of a player if you play to his strengths, he’s one of the best players from the back in the game, he’s just so fast,” Kyrgios said of de Minaur after the match.
Kyrgios had a day earlier produced a serve-and-volley masterclass to stun world No 1 Daniil Medvedev 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-2. He said the effort had certainly taken a toll.
“Incredibly tough, after yesterday’s big high playing Daniil. The crowd was amazing, it’s a day I’ll probably never ever forget,” he said. “Today was really hard for me mentally to play Alex, we’re such good friends and he’s been having such a good career so far carrying the Australian flag. It’s just tough mentally, it’s never easy to play a friend like that, especially if they’re an Australian.”
The red-hot Wimbledon runner-up is projected to rise from 37th to No 27 in the standings and could crack the world’s top 15 if he backs up last week’s success in Washington with an eighth career title on Sunday.
That would secure Kyrgios a crucial top-16 seeding in New York, ensuring the 27-year-old would not play a higher-ranked rival until at least the second week at the season’s final grand slam.
Kyrgios’s more immediate focus is Hubert Hurkacz for a place in the semi-finals for a sixth tournament running outside of an injury-enforced withdrawal in Mallorca the week before Wimbledon.
Hurkacz beat Kyrgios two months ago on the Halle grass courts and advanced to the last eight on Thursday with a fighting 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 7-6 (7-3) third-round win over Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
Earlier, fourth seed Casper Ruud advanced to the quarters with a 6-7 (7-4) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 win over Roberto Bautista Agut.
Ruud is the highest seed left in the singles draw following the demise of the top three seeds – Medvedev, Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas – on Wednesday.