The match-up promised to be the standout of the tournament so far and it didn’t disappoint as Kyrgios, enjoying the best tennis of his career, won 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Spectators at Flushing Meadows will be hard pressed to find a better set of tennis than the opening, which the Australian edged 13-1 in a tiebreak.
Despite dropping the next set, Kyrgios only fell into his usual trap of allowing the demons to creep in and his game to derail for that solitary set.
From there, he went for the jugular against his Russian opponent, whose excellent defensive game was just no match for the aggressive, often mercurial tennis of Kyrgios.
It means the men’s game will have a new world No1 at the end of the tournament with Rafa Nadal favourite to take that spot. But Kyrgios will be among the favourites to go one better than he did at Wimbledon earlier this summer and break his Grand Slam duck.
“It was an amazing match,” said Kyrgios afterwards. “Obviously, Daniil is the defending champion and a lot of pressure on his shoulders but I’ve been playing great recently.
“People were really starting to doubt my ability to pull out matches like this at majors. I’m really proud of myself because it hasn’t been easy dealing with all the critics.
“I just feel like I’m playing for a lot more than myself. I’ve got a lot of motivation in the back of my mind. I’ve been away from home now for four months. My whole team has. We don’t get to see our family like other tennis players do the majority of time.
“I’m trying to to make it worthwhile, trying to make it a memorable ride for all of us. Hopefully we can get it done, go back home and really celebrate.”
Medvedev had gone into the match as one of the form players on tour. Only Kyrgios, the champion at the warm-up tournament in Washington, had won more matches since the beginning of June.
The Russian had every belief he could force his way back into the match despite losing a 64-minute first set.
In the aftermath, Kyrgios switched off and fell 5-1 behind in the second set. Although he got one break back, he was never really in the reckoning as Medvedev comfortably levelled the match.
But Kyrgios regrouped and broke twice in that second set. Despite Medvedev throwing everything at him, the 27-year-old dictated the rest of the match.
In the ultimate compliment, Medvedev compared Kyrgios’ level of tennis to that of the absent Novak Djokovic, unable to travel to New York under Covid rules, and Nadal.
“It was a really high-level match,” said the Russian. “If he plays like this until the end of the tournament, he has all the chances to win it. But he’s going to get tough opponents so it’s not sure.”