The 17th seeded Kyrgios needed three tiebreakers to win a crunch match with the former finalist 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/5) in 3hr 17min in a spectacular night match on Rod Laver Arena.
It pitches the volatile Australian into a round of 16 showdown with Bulgaria’s world No.3 Grigor Dimitrov on Sunday.
Kyrgios, urged on by his home crowd, traded breathtaking volleys with Tsonga, who lost to Novak Djokovic in the 2008 Australian final when Kyrgios was a 12-year-old fan.
“It was amazing. I’ve never won a match on this court before but playing Jo I was obviously very nervous,” Kyrgios said on court.
“He was a guy I looked up to as a kid, still do, he’s a great guy. I’m just so happy to get through.
“I was getting prepared for a fifth set in that (fourth set) tiebreaker.
“I thought he was going to hit two big first serves and I was in a lot of trouble but I stayed composed, tied to make some returns and fight it out.”
The match had some drama just after the third set when an incensed Tsonga yelled at the chair umpire in French about a vocal member of the crowd.
Tsonga was heard to say “bring him here, he needs to come down here”.
He said it three times before the umpire warned the French star, telling him: “You have to stop, you have to stop. Nothing good can come from it. You have to stop.”
Tsonga was then issued with a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Kyrgios won his first home ATP Tour title at the lead-up Brisbane International — beating Dimitrov along the way — and is looking to go further than a quarter-final appearance in Melbourne three years ago.
Rafael Nadal continued his impressive start to the Australian Open, dropping just five games in romping to a straight sets win over Damir Dzumhur on Friday.
The Spanish world No.1 took just 1hr 50min to reach the fourth round with a 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 demolition of the 28th seeded Bosnian on Margaret Court Arena.
Nadal, a losing finalist to Roger Federer last year in Melbourne, has lost only 21 games in his three victories to reach the round of 16.
He will take on Argentina’s 24th seed Diego Schwartzman in Sunday’s fourth round.
“I was very focused and I’m very happy to have another chance on Sunday,” Nadal said.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion conceded just 18 unforced errors and only dropped his service once.
The win took the 31-year-old’s Australian Open record to 54-11 as he chases his second Melbourne title after beating Federer in the 2009 final.
Nadal was ruthless against the Bosnian, breaking his serve seven times with blistering shot-making.
He breezed through the opening set with two breaks for the loss of just one game in 22 minutes.
He then broke Dzumhur in the opening game of the second and finished off the set with another break for a two sets lead.
Nadal continued to attack Dzumhur and broke him in the second and sixth games to wrap up his night.
Nadal, who is gunning for a 17th major title, was hampered by a knee injury at the tail-end of the 2017 season.
It forced him to skip the lead-up Brisbane International this month, and he only had a one-match workout at the exhibition Kooyong Classic in Melbourne ahead of the Open.
Nadal needs to reach the quarter-finals to be certain of retaining his world number one ranking after the Australian Open, with Federer breathing down his neck.
Teenage sensation Marta Kostyuk was in tears after her Australian Open adventure ended Friday, but the “future of tennis” is determined to learn from the experience.
Fourth seed Elina Svitolina breezed past her Ukraine compatriot 6-2, 6-2 in just 59 minutes, leaving the 15-year-old sobbing on her mum’s shoulder, but Kostyuk wasn’t down for long.
“How much you have to pay Svitolina to have one-hour lesson? I got it for free,” she told reporters.
“I learn that you can play against everyone,” Kostyuk added of what she gained from facing the world number four.
“I had the chances, but because I thought, like, she is incredible, she’s a god, I cannot do anything against her, that’s the problem.”
Svitolina said she had actually been a pretty pricey tutor, with the difference between winning and losing in the third round a cool $97,500.
“It was expensive, because we play for prize money,” she said with a smile, adding that there were better teachers.
“I’m not good with these kind of things because I don’t want to seem like a wise ass.
“I’m not sure she really needs advice from me. She has her mum, she has coaches who do an amazing job. So, you know, I’ve nothing really to add,” said the world number four.
— Elina Svitolina (@ElinaSvitolina) January 19, 2018
Kostyuk had been labelled the “future of tennis” by TV commentator and former player Sam Smith after becoming the youngest Australian Open second-round winner since “Swiss Miss” Martina Hingis in 1996.
But she produced a nervous, error-strewn third-round display against Svitolina and that, she said, was why she was inconsolable as she returned to the locker room.
“Well, because I know that I could play much better. It was, like, honestly I played really, really bad today.
“Credit to her, of course. I’m not saying she’s bad player. I’m just saying I played bad. I didn’t show even maybe even 10 per cent of what I can.”
Svitolina gave Kostyuk a huge hug and some words of consolation in a tender moment at the end of the game and said she was proud of her young countrywoman.
“I think she will remember this moment for all her life,” said Svitolina. “So that’s why (I did it). You know, it was very special.”
Kostyuk has shown maturity beyond her years this week on and off court and will stay on in Australia to play Fed Cup for Ukraine next month.
But the crying?
“I also can be a kid, you know,” she said. “It’s not like I’m always like this, serious. I’m still 15.”