Kyrgios too good for Nadal
Nick Kyrgios flourished on the big stage once again as he produced a majestic performance to oust Rafael Nadal 6-2 7-5 and reach last four in Cincinnati
The mercurial Australian was unrelenting from the first ball and he unnerved his higher ranked opponent with his gallant approach and fearless attitude. The Spaniard fought valiantly until the end, but he was noticeably disturbed by his error-strewn display.
The majority of players enter an arena with the established elite hoping to compete, but Kyrgios is different. The 23-year-old expects to prevail against the big-guns and he has the talent to match his bravado.
The Australian made a rip-roaring start to proceedings however Nadal contributed to his own demise. The French Open champion struggled to settle and his groundstrokes continually missed the target as he conceded the first four games.
Kyrgios had amassed an early advantage and his willingness to try the occasional trick-shot did not go down well with the pro-Nadal crowd. He remained disciplined and composed, though, and took just 25 minutes to move halfway towards the winning line.
There was no let up from the Australian in the second set as he continued to play with flair and panache. Nadal, a fearsome competitor, tried to muster a response, but his famous forehand was more of a hindrance than help.
The Spaniard continued to rack up the unforced-errors and his opponent gleefully capitalised. Kyrgios moved 3-2 ahead after his out-of-sorts rival dumped a forehand into the net and he was on course to complete a routine victory in less than an hour.
Leading 5-4, Kyrgios had an opportunity to serve for the match however he unexpectedly faltered. The Australian struggled to land his first delivery and he was made to suffer the consequences as the Spaniard pulled level.
Any hopes of another famous Nadal comeback were immediately quashed, though, as the Sapniard played a horror service game - filled with forehand mistakes - to gift his opponent a break and a 6-5 lead.
This time, there was no mistake. Kyrgios completed the formalities on serve to make his way into the last four and send Nadal on an earlier than anticipated flight to New York.
David Ferrer will provide the 23-year-old with his next test. The evergreen Spaniard is into his first Masters semi-final in nearly two years after a comprehensive 6-3 6-3 win over Dominic Thiem.
In the other two quarter-finals, Grigor Dimitrov dropped just three games against Yuichi Sugita and John Isner took out his compatriot, Jared Donaldson, 7-6(5) 7-5.