Nick Kyrgios breezed through into the third round at the US Open but not without his usual and now expected brush with authority.
He called game, then my opponent challenged once the umpire called game, I just thought that wasn't right Nick Kyrgios
The 28th seeded Australian easily dispatched 104th ranked Frenchman Antoine Hoang 6-4 6-2 6-4 to match his deepest run and at Flushing Meadows to book a date with 43rd-ranked Andrey Rublev, the 21-year-old Russian who beat Roger Federer at Cincinnati two weeks ago.
“He’s a young, fearless player who has been playing really well the last couple weeks,” Kyrgios said. “He plays big from both sides. He’s a great player.”
Kyrgios won their only meeting last year in Moscow, recalling, “It was an incredibly tough match.”
The second round match with Hoang started with the umpire taking issue with a statement on his collar which read ‘Just Do You’ which he felt violated clothing rules and telling him to fold his collar down.
“I think they thought it was a slogan, but it wasn’t,” Kyrgios said. “It wasn’t anything to do with a marketing thing. I think they must have read it wrong. I think they thought it said ‘Just Do It’ like the slogan.
“It was a mix-up. It’s all cleared up now. I can wear that. I can wear the collar up.”
Then in the third set when Kyrgios thought he had won a point and heard the umpire call the game and score, only to have it overturned on what he considered a video challenge made far too late.
“He called game, then my opponent challenged once the umpire called game,” Kyrgios said. “I just thought that wasn’t right.”
After arguing to no avail, Kyrgios smacked a service winner to settle the matter and seize a 5-3 lead!
Kyrgios, who won titles this year in Acapulco and Washington and is under investigation by the ATP following an outburst in his previous match, has an open draw quarter after three top-10 players lost in the first round and is on course to meet Rafa Nadal in the semi-finals.
Meanwhile Nadal, the second seed, was handed a walkover into the third-round when Kyrgios’s compatriot and long-time friend, Thanasi Kokkinakis, withdrew.
Kokkinakis, the world No 203, won his first Grand Slam match since the 2015 French Open against Ilya Ivashka in the first round at Flushing Meadows but a right shoulder problem prevented him from facing Nadal.
“Cannot describe how angry and frustrated I am right now,” Kokkinakis tweeted.
“Having to pull out tonight after working so hard to get back to this point I’m going to figure it out at some point and it will all be worth it… Thank you to everyone who still supports me through the shit.”
Kokkinakis, 23, reached a career high of 69th in 2015 but his progress has stalled due to a series of injuries in recent years.
Despite that, he famously defeated Roger Federer in the second round of the Miami Masters in 2018.
He was making his third appearance in the main draw at the US Open, having lost in the first round in 2015 and 2017.
Daniil Medvedev overcame severe cramps to reach the third round with a 6-3 7-5 5-7 6-3 victory over 84th-ranked Bolivian Hugo Dellien.
The Russian fifth seed, who arrived in New York on the back of a maiden Masters title in Cincinnati and runner-up finishes in Montreal and Washington, faces Feliciano Lopez next.
Sixth seed Alexander Zverev survived a second successive five-set marathon match as he outlasted American Frances Tiafoe 6-3 3-6 6-2 2-6 6-3.
Germany’s Zverev was taken the distance by Radu Albot in his opening match and 45th-ranked Tiafoe forced him into another decider before last year’s ATP Finals champion battled through to round three to equal his best US Open run.
In other action Stanislas Wawrinka beat Jeremy Chardy 6-4 6-3 6-7(3) 6-3, Alex De Minaur took out Christian Garin 6-3 7-5 6-3 while the entertainer Gael Monfils concentrated to dispatch Marius Copil 6-3 6-2 6-2.
In addition Denis Shapovalov beat Henri Laaksonen 6-4 7-6(2) 6-2 while the diminutive Diego Schwartzman eliminated Egor Gerasimov 6-4 6-2 6-0, John Isner held off Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 7-6(4) 7-6(5) but the former US Open champion Marin Cilic was taken to four sets by Cedrik-Marcel Stebe before winning through 4-6 6-3 7-5 6-3