"It was nearly unreal", Kyrgios said after the match, adding: "If anyone else is doing those shots against me, I'm probably not too happy".
Yet there was Roger Federer, barreling toward the right net post in full flight. The point of the match, and one of the shots of the tournament, came when Federer blocked Kyrgios' serve to the backhand and the 23-year-old Australian guided a drop shot cross-court toward the photographers' pit. The ensuing victor didn't go over the net - it went around.
But Federer escaped, breaking Kyrgios to pocket the first set and dominating the second. "No, it was nearly unreal. unbelievable".
"I got to the business end of the first set, crucial moment", he said. That was, anyone who saw it surely would agree, the on-a-full-sprint, drop-shot-retrieving, flick-from-a-few-inches-off-the-ground, forehand-around-the-net-post, jaw-dropping victor that Federer conjured up close to the conclusion of the 6-4, 6-1, 7-5 tour de force in the third round Saturday. "I went for it so I deserve it".
"If anyone else is doing those shots against me, I'm probably not too happy".
Kyrios' reaction really says it all.
That consistency, impressive though it was to watch the 37-year-old hit 51 winners, eventually turned what had been a highly anticipated match into a bit of a bore.
"I respect him a lot, because for me, it's very challenging to play the best tennis against all these tall girls".
In addition to his first-time appearance in a grand slam second week, Millman will also crack the world's top 50 for the first time and earn a coveted place on Lleyton Hewitt's Davis Cup team for Australia's historic tie against Austria this month. For fun, he mimicked Federer's instead.
"I had the chances and I didn't take them", Kyrgios, the 30th seed, said. The closest Kyrgios came at really bothering Federer and his quest of a sixth US Open crown was in the first set when Federer got out of a cage at 3-all, 0-40 to hold serve.
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Federer also regarded his point as "a special one".
In the round of 16, Federer will face world No. 55 John Millman, who defeated Fabio Fognini in four sets on Thursday. Federer's record against Kyrgios improved to 3-1 with Saturday's win, their only meeting at a Grand Slam.
The pressure got to Kyrgios and Federer sensed it, knowing slow and steady would win the race.
"The net is out further and the court is more narrow, so for a shot like this to happen in a practice, you will be running into a fence and you will hit it into the net".
"He's the best that's played the game, in my opinion, " said Millman, who practiced with Federer ahead of the grass-court portion of this season.
When asked about it later, Kyrgios laughed it off, denying that he said it.
Djokovic has won two of his 13 Grand Slam titles at Flushing Meadows. "As you're hitting it, you're like, 'Oh, I can just shove it down the line and just flat.' That's what happened today".
To the question of the state of his career, Kyrgios earnestly answered - a rarity for the Aussie - that he isn't satisfied.
"I think to play fair and play tough", he said.