Karen Khachanov defeats Nick Kyrgios in straight sets at US Open to reach first career Grand Slam semi-final

NEW YORK — Karen Khachanov stood on the court with his arms raised, basking in the cheers of a rowdy crowd after reaching his first Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open. Not far away, Nick Kyrgios took away some of his frustration with the result being so close and yet so far 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 the defending champion Daniel Medvedev at Flushing Meadows, retiring in a high-quality upside-down quarter-final that began Tuesday night and ended more than 3½ hours later around 1 a.m. ET Wednesday at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

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.”

Khachanov, seeded No. 27, had been 0-2 in the major quarter-finals before this one against Kyrgios No. 23.

And he noticed who the fans seemed to favor.

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

Khachanov will face No. 5 Casper Ruud 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). Since aces were first tracked in 1991, this was the second US Open men’s game with players with more than 30 aces. The other came in the 2004 quarter-finals between Joachim Johansson (30) and Andy Roddick (34).

Kyrgios and Khachanov also combined for 138 total winners (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.

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

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. He was 150-1 to win the US Open at the start of the tournament, according to Caesars Sportsbook.

Against Kyrgios, he took key service breaks in the final game of the first and third sets. After the opening match, 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.”

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

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