BEIJING: Nick Kyrgios claimed the scalp of the hottest prospect in tennis in Alexander Zverev on Saturday (Oct 7) and then said he was gunning for Rafael Nadal in the China Open final.
The 22-year-old Australian stunned the German starlet 6-3, 7-5 in a high-quality semi-final on Beijing's outside hard courts to tee up a mouthwatering showdown with world number one Nadal.
Kyrgios, ranked 19 in the world, has not always done his talent justice and a year ago was suspended for his conduct in a defeat to Zverev's older brother Mischa in Shanghai.
But Kyrgios showed his best side for a Beijing crowd that lapped up his fearsome shot-making and showmanship.
"It was a tough match, he's one of the best players in the world right now," Kyrgios said of his vanquished opponent, ranked four in the world.
"He has a massive future ahead and I'm really good friends with him so it's always fun playing him. At the same time, I know we both want to win and I'm just really happy with the way I played today."
It was the third time in four meetings this season that Kyrgios has come out on top.
"He probably didn't play his best today, but I thought I really served well and didn't give him much rhythm," said Kyrgios, who is going after his fourth ATP title, but first this year.
"My game plan today was I was going to play big and not let him dictate at all, and that's what happened."
Relishing Sunday's clash with Nadal, the Spanish 16-time Grand Slam champion, Kyrgios added: "He's one of the greatest players of all time and we've played a couple of times - he's beaten me and I've beaten him (this year)."