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By Chris Oddo | Thursday, August 28, 2014

Nick Kyrgios 2014 US Open

Rising 19-year-old Nick Kyrgios is eager to trade baseline blasts with Tommy Robredo in the US Open's third round.

Photo Source: AP

19-year-old Aussie Nick Kyrgios was one of only five teenagers in the men’s singles draw at the US Open, and, fittingly, the rising phenom is the only one to have made the third round after today’s impressive straight-sets victory over Andreas Seppi.

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Of the five he’s the most confident, the most driven, and possesses the most explosiveness and shotmaking abilities, after all. That much has been made apparent over the last three months.

Playing in only his sixth career Grand Slam, Kyrgios already has a win over a world No. 1 and a round of 16 appearance under his belt. He became the first player outside the top 100 to defeat a world No. 1 in 22 years when he shocked Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, but Kyrgios says he’s turned the page on that experience already.

“I haven't really thought about that much this week,” Kyrgios said confidently after his victory over Seppi on Day 4. “It's all in the past.”

Words are one thing, but Kyrgios’ actions on court show that he’s not been affected by his recent success—he became the official model for Bonds undies in Australia after Wimbledon, and he’s been thrust in the public eye with increasing regularity, but none of it seems to distract the young Aussie from the here and now.

Kyrgios’ current here and now will be figuring out a way to deal with one of the most physical and relentless players on tour in the third round—Tommy Robredo. It would be a daunting challenge for anyone, but especially for a 19-year-old whose specialty isn’t long rallies, five-setters or playing deep into Grand Slams.

But credit Kyrgios once again for having the perfect mindset for the challenge that lies ahead.

“You just got to go into the match knowing he's one of the greatest competitors,” said Kyrgios of the man that notched his seventh career comeback from two sets to love down against Simone Bolelli on Day 4. “You know he's never going to give anything easy. Go out there and know it's never over until you have that match point and take it.”

For a guy who claims he didn’t even know that Robredo upset Roger Federer last year in New York en route to the quarterfinals, that’s a healthy amount of knowledge about the Spaniard and his style of play.

Carefully respectful, and necessarily confident, Kyrgios just might have an explosive enough game to give Robredo a run for his money, and—who knows?—maybe even upset him.

Most young players would probably approach a matchup with one of the tour's most physical and relentless players timidly, but Kyrgios will likely approach the tilt like he would a wrestling contest with one of his mates back in Australia. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. He’ll go in with gusto, and with a belief that his moment to shine awaits, win or lose.

“I'm looking forward to having some exciting rallies with him,” Kyrgios said enthusiastically. “I'm just going to, you know, be the one that's going to be dictating play as much as possible, playing aggressive. I'm going to be ready for Robredo. He's such a good player. There's going to be a lot of balls coming back. I just got to be ready.”


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