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Kyrgios blows away de Minaur in all-Aussie clash in Montreal

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Nick Kyrgios has delivered another tennis masterclass to put Alex de Minaur to the sword and scorch into the quarter-finals of the Montreal Masters 1000.

De Minaur entered the first-time showdown with his Davis Cup teammate as Australian No.1, but copped a nasty reality check in a 6-2 6-3 mauling at the hands of the hottest player on tour.

Kyrgios needed barely an hour to wrap up a 15th win from his past 16 matches and guarantee himself another important rankings boost ahead of the US Open starting on August 29.

Kyrgios claimed it was difficult playing his friend. But, at times, it looked like he was toying with de Minaur, who barely won a point in the opening four games.

He finally got on the board in the fifth game. Then Kyrgios, mixing stylish serve-volley plays with ferocious back-court power, effortlessly took the opening set in 23 minutes before immediately grabbing an early break in the second.

He briefly lost composure after failing to serve out the match at 5-2 but regained his cool to clinch victory with a fourth ruthless fourth break.

Kyrgios said it was tough backing up from his emotion-charged second-round win over world No.1 Daniil Medvedev to keep his streak going.

“It’s never easy playing a friend, particularly if they’re Australian. So I just got out here and got the job done,” he said.

“To play Alex, we’re such good friends, and he’s having such a good career so far carrying the Australian flag and it was just tough mentally.

“I played the way I had to play. He’s a hell of a player. If you play to his strengths, he’s one of the best players from the back in the game and he’s so fast.”

The red-hot Wimbledon runner-up is projected to rise from 37th to No.27 in the standings and could crack the world’s top 15 if he backs up last week’s success in Washington with an eighth career title on Sunday.

That would secure Kyrgios a crucial top-16 seeding in New York, ensuring the 27-year-old wouldn’t play a higher-ranked rival until at least the second week at the season’s final grand slam.

“It was a goal more so that I didn’t get one of the titans or the big gods in the first round [at Flushing Meadows],” Kyrgios said.

“I can actually work my way into the draw if the draw’s kind. But, look, I always feel like my game is right there.

“I feel like no matter who I play – like today I felt amazing – and hopefully I can keep it going.”

Kyrgios’s more immediate focus is Hubert Hurkacz for a place in the semi-finals for a sixth tournament running outside of an injury-enforced withdrawal in Mallorca the week before Wimbledon.

Hurkacz beat Kyrgios two months ago on the Halle grass courts and advanced to the last eight on Thursday with a fighting 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 7-6 (7-3) third-round win over Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Earlier, fourth seed Casper Ruud advanced to the quarters with a 6-7 (7-4) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 win over Roberto Bautista Agut.

Ruud is the highest seed left in the singles draw following the demise of the top three seeds – Daniil Medvedev, Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas – on Wednesday.

But home hope Felix Auger-Aliassime also still lurks after ousting British No.9 seed Cameron Norrie 6-3 6-4.

-AAP

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