Just when you thought Nick Kyrgios had “villain of the year” all wrapped up, along comes Daniil Medvedev to make a late charge at the title.
Flipping-off the crowd, sarcastically thanking them for the boos in his post-match interview, the Russian didn’t take to kindly to the fans’ reaction to his treatment of a ball person earlier in his match against Feliciano Lopez.
Now obviously there is no universe in which it is acceptable to snatch a towel from a ball boy only to immediately throw it on the ground, but considering the “heel turn” moment it spawned after his 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 victory, it was dare I say, kind of hilarious?
Yes, he deserves a fine and yes, he shouldn’t make a habit of it — although considering this is the guy who once mockingly tried to bribe an umpire at Wimbledon, and has an ongoing beef with Stefanos Tsitsipas — but it’s hard to deny the appeal it adds to his future matches.
Funnily enough, he’s on a quarterfinal collision-course with Novak Djokovic — himself no stranger to the NYC boo-birds — and wouldn’t that be something?
Here’s your three-to-see on Saturday at the US Open:
Naomi Osaka (JPN)  v Cori Gauff (USA) – First on Arthur Ashe (Night Session)
In the words of the immortal Keanu Reeves: woah. Naomi Osaka versus Coco Gauff is actually happening. The defending US Open champion against the biggest young phenom in American sport, possibly since LeBron James, this will almost certainly be the biggest match of the tournament for the local audience, and that alone makes it worth watching, but here’s the thing: I reckon Gauff actually has a chance. Now obviously Osaka is the better player, and if she plays as we know she can, she’ll simply overwhelm the young American, but the Japanese has been known to get a bit shaky at slams recently, and if Gauff comes out serving bombs and playing the sort of defense she did against Timea Babos, she’ll makes things very interesting indeed.
Denis Shapovalov (CAN) v Gael Monfils (FRA)  – First on Louis Armstrong (Night Session)
Two of the leading candidates to come out of the quarter of un-death, Gael Monfils versus Denis Shapovalov could end-up being something of a clash of the titans. A first-time meeting for the pair, this is a matchup between two guys with all the discipline of an untrained puppy, and that makes things unpredictable – but in a good way. Whether it’s over in 50 minutes or five hours, you’re going to get a fun contrast between Shapovalov’s offense and Monfil’s defense, some of the best shotmaking you see all year, and a few head-scratching/chucky-worthy moments – popcorn tennis at its finest.
Andrey Rublev (RUS) v Nick Kyrgios (AUS)  – Second on Arthur Ashe (Night Session)
So far, so good for the Nick Kyrgios Show this year in New York, but things are about to get interesting in a real hurry when he squares off against Andrey Rublev. Even setting aside what can happen outside the tennis, it’s a tough match to predict, with Kyrgios taking their only meeting in three sets in Moscow last year, but Rublev obviously being one of the more in-form players on tour right now. In any case, it should be an exhibition of real power baseline tennis, with both players looking to create opportunities to unleash their massive forehands amidst plenty of first-strike points. In any case, come for the tennis, stay for the drama.