Roger Federer secured his passage into the third round of the US Open with a straight sets victory over enigmatic Frenchman Benoit Paire and set up a mouth-watering tie with Australias Nick Kyrgios.
The Swiss is yet to drop a set in Flushing Meadows but will face a serious test of his credentials in the third round after Kyrgios defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert in controversial circumstances.
While a set and a break down to his opponent and seemingly on his way out, the 30th seed received an impromptu pep talk from chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani – a move that has drawn plenty of criticism, particularly as Kyrgios went on to turn the match around.
In the aftermath of the match he was asked about the opportunity to face Federer, the 23-year-old looked forward to facing the 37-year-old for a fourth time.
Its always fun playing Roger, Kyrgios said. We played each other three times and its been 7-6 in the third set every time. Im looking forward to it.
Its obviously exciting. Ive got nothing to lose. Im going to go out there and compete my arse off.
He added in his post-match press conference: I definitely know that I wont be the favourite, the crowd favourite here. I go into that match with zero expectation.
I do believe I can beat him. I have done it before. Its going to be a lot of fun.
Kyrgios was not finished for the day, though. Not by a long stretch.
WTA star Donna Vekic had expressed her confusion at Lahyanis actions, writing on Twitter: Didnt know umpires were allowed to give pep talks
Haha IRONIC coming from someone who gets on court coaching every week of the year and also out of the US Open https://t.co/hvlwPyRcSc
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) August 30, 2018
And Kyrgios responded: Haha IRONIC coming from someone who gets on court coaching every week of the year and also out of the US Open.
Federers afternoon was far less eventful, though it was an entertaining contest.
Paire put in a decent performance to keep Federer honest but ultimately couldnt come up with his best tennis in the crucial moments.
Paire is never one to hide his emotions and he endured a bit of friendly fire when thrashing his racquet into the ground after it bounced up and clocked him in the face.
By contrast, Federer has conducted himself in a calm and measured manner thus far.
But with Kyrgios coming to party on Saturday, expect fireworks.