Russian star denied spot in US Open final
The US Open men's singles title will not be headed to Russia for a second consecutive year after Karen Khachanov joined current holder Daniil Medvedev in being knocked out of the American Grand Slam.
While Medvedev was seen off by Nick Kyrgios in the round of 16, Khachanov lost his semi-final in four sets by a score of 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 5-7 6-2 in French Open finalist Casper Ruud's favor.
After beating Kyrgios in the quarter-finals, 27th seed Khachanov dared to dream at Flushing Meadows but was often left shaking his head in frustration by a flawless Ruud.
Ruud came flying out of the tracks by blasting his way to a two-game lead and clinched the set by coming out on top after an incredible 55-shot rally and a tie break.
The second set was far more dominant from Ruud, however, who allowed Khachanov just two games before the Russian fought back and took the third set 7-5.
Never looking in doubt of allowing his foe to mount a comeback, however, Ruud again demolished Khachanov 6-2 and made recent history by becoming the only man alongside the figure that got the better of him at Roland Garros in Rafael Nadal to reach two Grand Slam finals in 2022.
Ending Nadal's hopes of dethroning Medvedev as world number one on Monday, Ruud hailed "another great match" from his side of the court.
"I think we were both a bit nervous at the beginning, a few breaks back and forth. But you have to take into account that this match is probably the biggest in both of our careers. Of course there will also be some nerves but I was fortunate to win that first set, which calmed my nerves a little bit," he noted.
"I played phenomenal in the second and Karen stepped up in the third. It was back and forth like every five-setter is, but I am just so happy.
"After Roland Garros I was extremely happy but of course humble enough to think that could be my only final at a Grand Slam in my career. It doesn’t come easy, but here I am back again a couple [of] months later," Ruud also remarked.
Awaiting him there is Nadal's compatriot and the man tipped to inherit his crown as Spain and perhaps the modern game's best player in Carlos Alcaraz.
In the other semi-final, the teenager dashed local expectations of having an American in the tournament's deciding match for the first time in 16 years by beating Francis Tiafoe in a five-set thriller 6-7, 6-3, 6-1, 6-7, 6-3.