Roger Federer says Nick Kyrgios is finally starting to show his potential ahead of their meeting at the BNP Paribas Open on Friday.
"I'm very impressed him taking out Novak, back-to-back weeks, on Novak's best surface", Federer said. At this stage we think it's food positioning and I'm praying it's nothing more.
Kyrgios had been due to face Federer in Friday's first quarter-finals after knocking out Novak Djokovic in the last 16 on Wednesday, but claimed he was "in no fit state to take to the court".
Federer advanced to the semi-finals where he will take on American 17th seed Jack Sock on Saturday.
"(But) it's just another match for me.
However, Federer will have his task cut out against the 21-year-old Australian, who is in fine form on hard courts in the current season. Should Kyrgios defeat Federer as well, it could give us some big answers, thinks former doubles number one Todd Woodbridge.
His Australian Open triumph was followed by a loss to world No 116 Evgeny Donskoy in Dubai, where Federer said he was still feeling a hangover from his exploits Down Under.
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Meanwhile, Nick Kyrgios ended Novak Djokovic's reign at Indian Wells, toppling the World No. 2 in the fourth round of the year's first Masters event. "Even I was at 13 (in the world) a year ago, but I wasn't in a good place mentally at all".
In other matches, third seed Stan Wawrinka overcame Yoshihito Nishioka 3-6 6-3 7-6 (4), Austria's Dominic Thiem defeated Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-3 6-2, and Japan's Kei Nishikori beat Donald Young 6-2 6-4. I played one tournament where I felt normal previous year and that was the Australian Open.
"It wasn´t enough just to putting the ball in play". The Australian youngster also has a 1-0 head-to-head advantage over Federer as he edged past the Swiss in a fiercely-contested Round of 32 clash at 2015 Madrid Masters 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (12).
"It feels good. I knew what I had to do today".
Mladenovic will play the victor of a later match between 12th-seeded Venus Williams and No. 14 Elena Vesnina.
The rivalry between 14-time Grand Slam and the 18-time winners is one of the most exciting in the history of tennis.