NEW YORK – Daniil Medvedev said Nick Kyrgios played to the level of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on Sunday, as the Australian shut down his title defence 7-6 (13-11), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the fourth round of the US Open.

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 Grand Slam 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 the Australian to his previous US Open finals opponents, 22- and 21-time 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,” said Medvedev. “He’s tough to play. He has an amazing serve.”

The 26-year-old Russian 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,” said Medvedev, who will see his world No. 1 ranking go to Nadal, Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz or Norwegian Casper Ruud at the tournament’s end.

“But he’s going to get tough opponents, so it’s not sure.”

And while Kyrgios’ form was as cold as ice, Medvedev said another factor may have added to the chill: The American penchant for over-the-top air conditioning.

“Today I felt a little bit sick. I mean, the thing is, in USA, I get sick once time for sure in the swing because the AC is just crazy,” he told reporters.

“I felt my throat a little bit today. I think that physically maybe that played a little bit of a role. At the same time it’s not an excuse at all because Nick played good.” REUTERS

Last modified: September 5, 2022