Teenage tennis sensation Nick Kyrgios has made an explosive start to the US Open, eliminating two-time semi-finalist Mikhail Youzhny in the opening round.
In a spectacular encore to his breathtaking win over Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, Kyrgios sent the seeded Russian packing with a nerveless 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 7-6 (7-1) victory on Monday.
Youzhny had beaten Nadal and fellow former Open champions and world No.1s Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt in past visits to Flushing Meadows and only two weeks ago stopped the extraordinary giantkilling run of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Cincinnati.
But the world No.23 had no answer to Kyrgios’s awesome firepower as the Australian crunched 26 aces and 68 winners in the four-set demolition job on Show Court 17.
Apart from overcoming Youzhny’s class and vast experience, Kyrgios defied searing heat, a nagging left arm injury and three code violations to join fellow Australian Matt Ebden in the second round.
Ebden earlier beat German Tobias Kamke 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-2) to set up a clash on Wednesday with Argentine Leonardo Mayer.
A qualifier last year, Kyrgios will next face Italian Andreas Seppi after winning his first-ever main-draw match in New York.
The 19-year-old sought treatment in both the first and third sets to have the forearm that supports his two-handed backhand vigorously rubbed.
He took the opening set after claiming the only service break in the 11th game.
After nervously coughing up his first two double-faults of the match when serving for it at 6-5 and 40-love, Kyrgios steadied to close out the set with an unreturnable serve.
Australia’s Wimbledon quarter-finalist unleashed a stinging backhand return to break Youzhny in the first game of the second set and had two further chances points to seize a double break at 3-1.
The let-off could have been costly as the Russian reeled off three straight games to lead 5-4, only for Kyrgios to calmly recover from 15-30 down to level at 5-5.
Kyrgios took control of the tiebreaker, opening up a 5-1 advantage before pocketing the set for a two-sets-to-love lead with a massive ace followed by another unreturnable delivery.
The youngster lapsed to drop serve twice as Youzhny grabbed the third set and then appeared poised to push the match to a deciding fifth set.
But after digging in to save set points serving at 4-5 in a marathon 10th game, Kyrgios broke the Russian for a third time with a clean backhand winner down the line.
Showing maturity beyond his years, Kyrgios raced through the fourth-set tiebreaker 7-1 to clinch victory after three hours and three minutes.
While Youzhny is no Nadal, the 32-year-old entered the match with credentials and form.
His recent success over Tsonga came the week after the Frenchman had taken down Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Grigor Dimitrov and Roger Federer in consecutive matches to win the Toronto Masters.
Kyrgios’ impressive victory also came a year after Youzhny denied his Davis Cup teammate a place in the quarter-finals with a dogged five-set comeback win over Hewitt.