Has Nick Kyrgios got your respect now?
GRIGOR Dimitrov has weathered an inspired Nick Kyrgios comeback to snuff out the firebrand's Australian Open quest in a classic grand slam contest marred by tension and controversy.
The classy Bulgarian earned an appointment with unseeded Englishman Kyle Edmund with a supremely resolute 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-6 (7-4) fourth-round victory.
GAME RECAP: HOW NICK WENT DOWN SWINGING
Unbeaten in seven matches this season, Kyrgios clouted 36 aces and 76 winners - numbers usually associated with success.
But his irritation over imperfection - form, equipment failure and issues around his supporter group - eventually told.
And it detracted from an outstanding and brave performance against a multiple grand slam semi-finalist - and title contender this week.
The Canberran spent much of the first three sets barraging his player box over stringing tension in his racquets.
As the pressure built, so did Kyrgios' frustrations.
While Dimitrov's coach Dani Vallverdu loudly lashed officials for not penalising Kyrgios for hitting a ball into the crowd, the Australian clashed with umpire Carlos Ramos over foot-fault calls.
"I haven't been called for a foot fault for three years. It's not possible, man, it's not possible," Kyrgios thundered.
"It is possible, Nick," Ramos replied.
After floating a backhand long, Kyrgios gave his support box a sarcastic thumbs up and said: "Good job, well done.
"One thing with the racquet, that's all you had to do.
"Absolute idiots, how does it happen? Embarrassing."
Watched by his parents George and Nil and brother Christos, Kyrgios sent out a racquet for restringing but, once it was returned, he left it untouched inside a plastic bag.
Always behind, he was punished by composed Dimitrov, who turned the screws with sadistic relish.
Seemingly destined for straight sets success, the stylish Bulgarian was rocked by Kyrgios' third-set comeback as the contest turned.
And he inexplicably blundered when serving for the match at 5-3 in the fourth set, only to be set back on his heels as Kyrgios mounted a last-ditch challenge.
He regained control in the tiebreak to generate three match points at 6-3. Kyrgios saved the first before Dimitrov rifled a glorious forehand winner crosscourt.
"It was a tough match. Obviously I knew it was always going to be tough," Kyrgios said after the match.
"He's been playing great. I think with him, he hasn't even found his best form yet and he's still getting through all those matches, which is pretty frightening. I think once he finds his feet and he has more confidence, he's got a real chance at winning it.
"It was only a couple points in it, you know. It wasn't like I got demolished out there or anything. I had a lot of chances to win the match and I just came up short. Obviously it's frustrating but it is what it is."
After being booed following his Australian Open loss last year, Kyrgios said he felt a lot better 12 months down the track.
"I played well tonight. I thought I played well," he said.
"I lost tonight to one of the best players in the world. Went down swinging. Obviously I feel a lot better this time around. Last year I really didn't know what I was going to do after the Australian Open last year. I feel like I have more of a vision and goal for this year. I think I'm in a good head space."
Statistics underlined just how tight the contest was. With 16 aces and 64 winners, Dimitrov claimed 157 points. Kyrgios pocketed 156.
Kyrgios still has no plans to hire a full-time coach.
"I don't think so. You know, I feel like I have lost one match this year, so I'm doing all right."