Kyrgios played down disagreements with the world number one - against whom he has a 2-1 record on hard courts - after some barbed exchanges between the two. I was losing it mentally after losing the third and fourth, after having match points. The serving was especially strong from Rafa as he hit 9 aces which helped him win 84% of his service points.
Khachanov didn't need a second invitation.
The Russian star held off one match point in the third set tiebreak to claim the set and extend the match. Guess what's next for the home-crowd favourite?
Again the pair could not be separated as they moved to 6-6 in the fifth, setting up a winner-takes-all 10-point super tie-break. Just like that, the match was level and Kyrgios was visibly frustrated. It was an extremely close match with 4 sets being decided by tiebreakers.
One fourth-round meeting is already set, with 10th-seeded Gael Monfils advancing 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-3 over No. 256-ranked Ernests Gulbis to a match against fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem, who beat American Taylor Fritz 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4.
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"It was insane. I don't think the emotions have died down at all".
Khachanov missed a backhand to give Kyrgios a third match point, and this time, with his limbs screaming, he took his chance when the Russian mishit a backhand wide, Kyrgios falling onto his back with the kind of celebration usually reserved for those who win the title.
"I was so scared for her", he said after the game.
But his conversion rate against his Davis Cup teammate was much better, putting away five from 10 in a dominant display from the 2009 champion. He's an unbelievable player.
"Mate, it was crazy, I don't even know what to say right now, it was insane, I have no words for how I'm feeling right now".
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Kyrgios started confidently against Khachanov and, despite taking a medical time-out at 5-2 up in the first set, managed to edge a second-set tie-break while continuing to grip at the back of his leg. "He's younger than me and he's going to have an incredible career".
As the player sought a towel to wipe the blood off his injured hand, the umpire handed him a time violation.
"My hand is bleeding", Kyrgios fumed. "Why are you stupid?" You guys just willed me over the line.
A bloodied, bickering and courageous Nick Kyrgios has laid a marker for perhaps the most resilient victory of his career, claiming a stunning third round Australian Open triumph against Karen Khachanov.
The 25-year-old was all-praise for the 19-time Grand Slam victor, terming him "arguably greatest of all-time".
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The pair met twice a year ago, once in Acapulco which Kyrgios won with controversy attached, and again at Wimbledon where Nadal was victorious in four sets. Delbonis began the exchange with a serve to the world No. 1.