Grigor Dimitrov described Nick Kyrgios as the most talented player on the ATP Tour after ending the home favourite's run at the Australian Open in a fourth-round thriller.
ATP Finals champion Dimitrov enhanced his billing as a contender for glory in Melbourne by defeating Kyrgios 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-6 (7-4) in front of an appreciative Rod Laver Arena crowd.
The enigmatic Kyrgios has earned a reputation for petulance to go with his undoubted skill due to a series of on-court misdemeanours throughout his career.
But third seed Dimitrov described Kyrgios as a "great guy" and says the Australian has a game to rival the best in men's tennis.
"I don't spend that much time in the locker room to know what everybody is thinking about him," he told a news conference.
"We see how fired he can be on the court and playing unbelievable tennis. He's extremely, extremely talented, if not the most talented player out there.
"Overall he's done better over the past months and he's starting to find his way around the courts, around the match and everything.
"He's a great guy. And in a way that's why we play the game. I love competing against him. I know it's frustrating at times, very frustrating, but at the same time it's for the love of the game, and I love the game.
"That's why I think it was such a good match on both ends because that was a grand slam match."
Next up is a last-eight tie with Briton Kyle Edmund who is playing a grand slam quarter-final for the first time, and Dimitrov insists he will not take the match lightly.
"I mean, he's gone that far. So, for sure I need to be ready. Simple as that. There is no place for underestimation or anything like that," he said.