Aussies in action: US Open Day 6
Australia's Nick Kyrgios and Alexei Popyrin head into the third round of the US Open knowing a potential fourth-round meeting awaits them.
Nick Kyrgios and Alexei Popyrin will carry Australian hopes in the men’s singles on day six of the US Open.
The pair will go on to meet in the last 16 if they can both come through their third-round tests at Flushing Meadows on Saturday.
Kyrgios has been scheduled for the feature night match when he takes on Russian dynamo Andrey Rublev under lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The in-form Aussie knows Rublev is certainly capable of sending him packing from New York.
Rublev, 21 this month, added Roger Federer to his growing list of prized 2019 scalps, which also includes fellow Grand Slam champions Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic.
He also reached the quarterfinals last year at Flushing Meadows before pushing Kyrgios to the limit in a three-set thriller in his home tournament in Moscow.
Kyrgios is rightfully wary as he eyes a first-time foray to the second week in New York.
“Yeah, he’s a very good player,” Kyrgios said ahead of their second career meeting. “He’s a young, fearless player who has been playing really well the last couple weeks. Obviously he had that win over Roger.
“He plays big from both sides. He’s a great player. He’s going to have a great future.
“I mean, I played him once in Moscow. It was an incredibly tough match. So it’s going to be tough, for sure.”
Should he pass his biggest test of the tournament so far, Kyrgios could face Popyrin for a berth in the quarterfinals.
Popyrin, 20, takes on Italy’s 24th seed Matteo Berrettini looking to reach the last 16 at a slam for the first time.
“I know a little bit about him. He’s got a big serve, big forehand – kind of similar to my game actually. That’ll be interesting,” said Popyrin.
Kyrgios and Popyrin are hoping to join Alex de Minaur and give Australia three men in the last 16 at Flushing Meadows for the first time in 31 years, when Darren Cahill, John Frawley and Mark Woodforde all made it that far.
De Minaur’s 6-2 6-4 2-6 6-3 victory over seventh-seeded former Open runner-up Kei Nishikori thrust the 20-year-old into the last 16 of a slam for the first time.
The last time Australia had even two men in the fourth round of the US Open was 2001 when Lleyton Hewitt won the title and two-time champion Pat Rafter also reach the final 16.
|R3|| Nick Kyrgios||v|| Andrey Rublev||Ashe||4th match|
|R3||Alexei Popyrin||v|| Matteo Berrettini||Court 17||4th match|