Nick Kyrgios was at his ruthless best on Friday evening at Cincinnati’s Western & Southern Open, blasting past Rafael Nadal 6-2, 7-5 to secure a spot in the semi-finals.
It was the 100th tour-level victory for the Australian.
Kyrgios dominated from start to finish in his second match of day, reaching his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final of the year (Miami) and first in Cincinnati.
Less than seven hours after rallying past Ivo Karlovic 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3 in their rain-delayed third round affair, he needed just 80 minutes to thwart the soon to be World No. 1.
The victory was even more impressive considering the contrast in styles between opponents, with Kyrgios overcoming the big-serving Karlovic and more baseline oriented game of Nadal.
With the Spaniard eliminated, it marks the first time since Paris 2012 that no member of the Big Four of Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are in the semis of an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event. That’s 42 straight Masters 1000 tournaments.
“He obviously is a tough match always,” said Nadal. “Nick is a great player, but I played poorly. I started the match well and then I played a very bad game in the second set when he broke me. I played some good points. He had some mistakes and I was able to be back in the match. And then I played a terrible game. So it was a bad match for me. Congrats to him. That’s it.
“I love this tournament so much. It is improving every year. But I don’t know why I don’t find my rhythm here. It is tough for me to compete well here. But I’m going to keep trying next year.”
With top seed Nadal out, it marks the first time since 2006 that no Top 5 seeds will feature in the Cincinnati semi-finals.
Kyrgios will face David Ferrer in Saturday’s semi-finals. Ferrer took their lone previous encounter in the first round of the 2013 US Open. Seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov battles 14th seed John Isner in the other semi-final.