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Khachanov stops Kyrgios in 5 sets; faces Ruud in the semi-finals

NEW YORK (AP) — Karen Khachanov stood on the court with her arms raised, basking in the cheers of a rowdy crowd after reaching her first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open. Not far away, Nick Kyrgios vented some of his frustration at the result so close but so far away on a pair of racquets.

Firstly, shortly after the final point of his 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-4 loss to Khachanov, Kyrgios cracked his gear against the ground – once, twice, three, four times. Then, for good measure, Kyrgios pulled another racquet from his bag, stepped back and hit this one on the sideline as well.

Kyrgios couldn’t quite follow his win over defending champion Daniil Medvedev at Flushing Meadows, retiring in a high-quality upside-down quarter-final that started Tuesday night and ended over 3 1/2 hours later around 1 a.m. Wednesday at Arthur. Ashe Stadium.

“It’s just devastating. Like, it’s heartbreaking,” said Kyrgios, a 27-year-old Australian who was a runner-up at Wimbledon in July. “Almost every other tournament in the year is really a waste of time. You should just run and show up for a Grand Slam. That’s what you’re remembered for.

Asked about Kyrgios’ disappointment, Khachanov said he saw “racquets flying” and added: “I feel pain for him.”

At the start of the match, two spectators were sent off after one cut the other’s hair in the stands. At the end, the late spectators were firing loudly for Kyrgios. At some point in the fourth set, chair umpire James Keothavong pleaded, “Again, ladies and gentlemen: respect both players.”

“I was prepared. I expected the crowd to be more for him, for him to be the favorite in their eyes,” said Khachanov, seeded No. 27, had been 0-2 in major quarter-finals before this one. against Kyrgios No. 23.

Khachanov will face number 5 Casper Ruud on Friday for a spot in the championship game.

“I’m really proud of myself,” Khachanov said. “I was really focused from start to finish.”

He and Kyrgios are both equipped with booming serves, and they combined for 61 aces (31 by Kyrgios). They combined for 138 winners in total (75 by Kyrgios).

Two statistics that made the difference: Kyrgios committed 58 unforced errors, Khachanov 31. And Khachanov saved 7 of the 9 break points he faced.

The breakthrough at Wimbledon and two recent victories over No. 1 Medvedev – including in the fourth round, ending his title defense – made Kyrgios a popular choice to claim his maiden Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows.

Khachanov was barred from playing at Wimbledon this year after the All England Club banned all players from his country, Russia and Belarus due to the invasion of Ukraine.

Against Kyrgios, he took key service breaks in the final game of the first and third sets. After the opener, Kyrgios complained of knee pain and was visited by a coach.

It didn’t seem to show any ill effects once play was resumed and broke early in the second.

Kyrgios had a chance to break again at 4-all in the third but couldn’t convert, missing a forehand and then spiked his racket. Two games later, he put a backhand in the net to drop that set, then sat in his changing chair, threw down his racquet and threw a drink, drawing a caution for unsportsmanlike conduct from Keothavong.

Khachanov came within two points of victory as he led 6-5 as Kyrgios served in the fourth set. Kyrgios held on and dominated the ensuing tiebreaker to force a fifth.

Then Khachanov broke to start the final set, quickly led 3-1 and was on his way.

“The deeper you go, the higher the expectations rise,” he said. “I took a step forward”

In Wednesday’s quarterfinals, it will be No. 3 Carlos Alcaraz against No. 11 Jannik Sinner and No. 9 Andrey Rublev against No. 22 Frances Tiafoe.

None of the last eight men in the group has won a major title.

Ruud entered the 2022 season with just one Grand Slam appearance that lasted until the fourth round anywhere and was determined to improve his record at the four most important events in tennis.

Then, a day before the start of the Australian Open in January, he twisted his ankle in practice and had to withdraw. Barely ideal. Watch it now: Ruud is in the semi-finals at the US Open and has a chance to rise to No. 1 in the ATP rankings, after a run to the final at Roland Garros.

The 23-year-old Norwegian – who is coached by his father, former professional player Christian – turned what he called “a best start I’ve ever had in a game before” to a 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(4) win over 2021 Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini on Monday.

“During Paris something clicked, and I feel like this year I kind of figured out the best way to play five sets and know that it’s very different to play best of three sets. .. Sometimes realizing, or knowing, that you can kind of let a set go by now and then to save energy for the rest of the sets,” said Ruud, 12-2 in a Grand Slam in 2022. “So I think I’ve matured.”


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