2020 in Review: Nick Kyrgios wins epic against Khachanov to set Rafael Nadal clash

by   |  VIEW 4134

2020 in Review: Nick Kyrgios wins epic against Khachanov to set Rafael Nadal clash

For two straight nights, the crowd at Melbourne Park enjoyed a thrilling encounter that went down to the wire. Roger Federer and John Millman battled for four hours and three minutes on Friday, with Nick Kyrgios and Karen Khachanov staying on the court for even longer on the following night.

The home star scored a 6-2, 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 7-6 triumph in four hours and 26 minutes, prevailing 10-8 in the match tie break to set the clash against world no. 1 Rafael Nadal! Playing a marathon for the second time in three days, Karen fended off a match point in sets three and four, giving his 120% and pushing Kyrgios to the limits before finally falling in the deciding tie break, propelling the Aussie into the last 16 for the third time at the home Major.

The encounter saw 54 aces and many brilliant points on both sides that kept the crowd on the edge of their seats from start to finish. Nick won six points more overall in a thriller that drew them to the net around 120 times, with three breaks from six opportunities for Kyrgios and only one for Khachanov in the entire duel, standing firm despite that almost finishing in front of the Aussie.

It was all about Nick in the first set, serving well and delivering back-to-back breaks that carried him towards 6-2 despite some problems with his leg that required a medical timeout. Finding his range in set number two, Karen started to play much better and stayed on level terms with his rival, reaching the tie break after they both squandered one break chance.

Nick Kyrgios defeated Karen Khachanov in four and a half hours in Melbourne.

Kyrgios grabbed the breaker 7-5 following two mini-breaks and a service winner in the last point, taking another big step towards the triumph.

Trailing 4-2 in the third set, the Russian bounced back with a break in game eight that gave him momentum, saving a match point at 5-6 in the tie break with an unreturned serve and stealing it 8-6 to get his name on the scoreboard ahead of set number four.

Nick fended off two break chances in the seventh game and had another match point at 7-6 in the tie break, denied by Karen, who won it 9-7 following Nick's forehand error and forced the deciding set after a heroic resistance.

Tired but not beaten, Nick and Karen delivered 12 comfortable holds in the fifth set to set up the deciding match tie break. From 3-0 down, Khachanov grabbed four straight points and opened a 4-3 advantage with a backhand crosscourt winner.

The Russian opened an 8-7 lead after forcing a mistake from the Aussie before Nick cracked a backhand down the line winner that gave him momentum. Khachanov netted a straightforward backhand at 8-8, and Kyrgios sealed the deal after another backhand error from his opponent, celebrating one of the most incredible victories of his career in front of the partisan crowd.