In pursuit of the biggest prize of his young career, Nick Kyrgios will go up against a familiar foe in big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic for a place in the Miami Masters semi-finals.
The Australian world No.26 maintained his streak of straight-sets wins in Miami with a 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 victory over Russian Andrey Kuznetsov to secure a first-ever last-eight berth at a Masters event.
With the win, Kyrgios is scheduled to climb to at least world No.22 when the rankings are next released, which would surpass his previous highest mark of No.25 which he reached last June.
Next up in Miami is world No.12 Raonic – who Kyrgios has met three times – all in grand slams.
Raonic, who crushed Damir Dzumhur 6-0 6-3 in less than an hour in the fourth round on Tuesday, holds a 2-1 edge over Kyrgios – having beaten him at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2014 before the Aussie turned the tables in their fourth round clash at Wimbledon last year.
Kyrgios conceded just 10 points on serve in beating Kuznetsov, but admitted it was at the other end of the court where he was at his best.
“I came out a little flat and he came out flying,” Kyrgios told reporters.
“I picked up my energy halfway through the first set.
“I didn’t serve my best today and that’s just confidence for me.
“I’m playing well from the back, returning well and creating a lot of chances.”
In reaching the last eight, Kyrgios became the first to do so in Miami since Lleyton Hewitt in 2002.
Meanwhile world No.1 Novak Djokovic continued on his merry way, moving through to the quarters with a 6-3 6-4 win over Austrian Dominic Thiem.
In a contest closer than the score might indicate, Djokovic needed four match points before finally prevailing against the world No.14.
Next up for the Serb is a quarter-final against Czech Tomas Berdych, who beat Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-4 3-6 7-5 in an endurance contest that stretched nearly two hours 30 minutes under the scorching midday sun.