Karen Khachanov bests Nick Kyrgios in 5-setter at US Open to reach first career Grand Slam semifinal

Karen Khachanov bests Nick Kyrgios in 5-setter at US Open to reach first career Grand Slam semifinal

NEW YORK — Karen Khachanov stood on court, arms raised, basking in a rowdy crowd’s cheers after reaching his first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open. Not far away, Nick Kyrgios took out some of his frustration at the so-close-yet-so-far result on a pair of rackets.

First, shortly after the last point of his 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-4 loss to Khachanov, Kyrgios cracked his piece of equipment against the ground — once, twice, three, four times. Then, for good measure, Kyrgios grabbed yet another racket out of his bag, reared back and hit that one on the sideline, too.

Kyrgios could not quite follow up his victory over defending champion Daniil Medvedev at Flushing Meadows, bowing out in a high-quality, topsy-turvy quarterfinal that began Tuesday night and concluded more than 3 1/2 hours later at about 1 am ET Wednesday in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Early in the match, two spectators were kicked out after one gave the other a haircut in the stands. By the end, the late-staying spectators were pulling for Kyrgios loudly. At one point in the fourth set, chair umpire James Keothavong pleaded: “Once again, ladies and gentlemen: Respect both the players.”

The No. 27-seeded Khachanov had been 0-2 in major quarterfinals before this one against No. 23 Kyrgios.

And he noticed who the fans seemed to favor.

“I did it! I did it, guys! Thank you. Now you’re giving me some love. I appreciate it,” Khachanov said. “It was a crazy match. I was expecting it would be like this. I’m ready to run, to fight. …That’s the only way to beat Nick, I think.”

Khachanov will face No. 5 Casper Ruud on Friday for a berth in the championship match.

“I’m really proud of myself,” Khachanov said. “I was really focused from the beginning to the end.”

Both he and Kyrgios are equipped with booming serves, and they combined for 61 aces (31 by Kyrgios). Since aces were first tracked in 1991, it marked the second US Open men’s match featuring players with 30-plus aces. The other came in the 2004 quarterfinals between Joachim Johansson (30) and Andy Roddick (34).

Kyrgios and Khachanov also combined for 138 total winners (75 by Kyrgios).

Two stats that were real difference-makers: Kyrgios made 58 unforced errors, Khachanov 31. And Khachanov saved 7 of 9 break points he faced.

Kyrgios was the runner-up at Wimbledon in July and became a popular pick to claim his first Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows after ending No. 1 Medvedev’s title defense in the fourth round.

Khachanov was not allowed to play at Wimbledon this year after the All England Club banned all players from his country, Russia, and Belarus because of the invasion of Ukraine. He was 150-1 to win the US Open at the start of the tournament, according to Caesars Sportsbook.

Against Kyrgios, he picked up key breaks of serve in the last game of the first and third sets. After the opener, Kyrgios complained of knee pain and was visited by a trainer.

He did not appear to show any ill effects once play resumed, and broke early in the second.

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

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

Then Khachanov broke to begin the last set, soon was up 3-1 and was on his way.

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

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN Stats & Information was used in this report.

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