Roger Federer has delivered a tennis masterclass to send Nick Kyrgios out of the US Open in New York.
The 20-times grand slam champion produced some breathtaking shot-making at times in sweeping past Kyrgios 6-4, 6-1, 7-5 in their much-hyped third-round showdown at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Federer’s emphatic victory set up a last-16 meeting with another Australian, unseeded journeyman John Millman, on Monday.
Saturday’s blockbuster was billed as the match of the first week.
In a bold statement of intent, Kyrgios stole a move right out of the Federer playbook with an audacious SABR (sneak attack by Roger) on his opening return of the match.
The daring ploy didn’t pay immediate dividends, but it wasn’t long before Federer was looking unsettled as Kyrgios continued to apply niggly and offbeat tactics.
Not for the first time — but certainly for the first time while actually playing Federer — Kyrgios even mimicked the great Swiss’s service motion in the fourth game.
At one point, Kyrgios had the great Swiss down love-40 in the seventh game, with Federer needing to stave off four break points to keep the Australian at bay after a ferocious early fight.
But Federer’s tenacity reaped rewards with the second seed stealing the opening set with a backhand return pass on a rare Kyrgios serving lapse.
The setback marked the beginning of the end for Kyrgios, who gave his courtside box a sarcastic thumbs up after dropping serve again, from 30-love up, to fall behind 3-0 in the second set.
Kyrgios started as the entertainer but it was now Federer putting on the show, the 20-times major winner flicking a sublime backhand winner then rifling a forehand cross court to charge to 5-0 before seizing a two-sets-to-love lead with his 10th ace.
He’d lost just three times in an incomparable 1,424-match career from such a commanding position and wasn’t about to suffer a fourth such defeat at the hands of Kyrgios.
Five of the pair’s previous six sets contested had gone to tiebreakers, but it was clear Federer was up for this one.
Even Kyrgios could only marvel “oh my god” in disbelief as 37-year-old Federer pulled off a lunging forehand on the run around the net post as he closed in on victory in the third set.
The match was as good as over when the five-times champion broke Kyrgios for a fourth time for 6-5, before closing out victory after one hour and 44 minutes.
Earlier, Millman recorded a career breakthrough with a life-changing 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 third-round triumph over Mikhail Kukushkin.
The win earns Millman his first-ever appearance in the second week of a grand slam, a date with Federer and a cheque for $370,000.
Maria Sharapova also sealed her passage through with a confident 6-3, 6-2 win over Jelena Ostapenko.