THE CITY OF NEW YORK Karen Khachanov raised his arms and stood on the court in celebration of reaching his first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open. Nearby, Nick Kyrgios used a pair of rackets to express his frustration with the so-close-yet-so-far outcome.
First, after Khachanov’s final point of their 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-4 loss, Kyrgios repeatedly banged his piece of equipment against the ground. Kyrgios took another racket from his bag, threw himself back, and hit another one to the sideline.
Kyrgios was eliminated in a high-caliber, chaotic quarterfinal that began on Tuesday night and ended more than three and a half hours later at around one a.m. ET on Wednesday in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Previously, Kyrgios defeated defending champion Daniil Medvedev at Flushing Meadows.
Early in the game, two spectators were ejected after one cut the other’s hair in the stands. Late-arriving spectators were cheering loudly for Kyrgios by the end.
During a play in the fourth set, chair umpire James Keothavong pleaded, “Once again, ladies and gentlemen: Respect both the players.”
No. 27 seed Khachanov was 0-2 in significant quarterfinals before his match with No. 23 Kyrgios. He also noticed who the fans seemed to favor. “I completed! I did it, men! I’m thankful. You’re now showing me some love. Khachanov expressed his gratitude.
“It was an exciting game.” I expected it to be this way. I’m ready to flee and fight. That, I believe, is the only way to defeat Nick. On Friday, Khachanov will face No. 5, Casper Ruud, for a place in the championship match. “I’m extremely proud of myself,” Khachanov said.
From start to finish, I was entirely focused. He and Kyrgios both have powerful serves and 61 aces (31 by Kyrgios). It was only the second US Open men’s match since aces were first tracked in 1991 that featured players with 30 or more authorities.
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The other occurred in the quarterfinals of the 2004 tournament between Andy Roddick and Joachim Johansson (30). (34). Furthermore, Kyrgios and Khachanov have won 138 matches in total (75 by Kyrgios).
Regarding statistics, Kyrgios’ 58 unforced errors and Khachanov’s 31 were game changers. Khachanov saved seven of the nine break points he faced.
Kyrgios became a favorite to win his first Grand Slam tournament at Flushing Meadows after ending No. 1 Medvedev’s title defense in the fourth round at Wimbledon in July.
The All England Club barred all players from Belarus, Russia, and Khachanov’s country from competing at Wimbledon this year due to the invasion of Ukraine. When the US Open began, Caesars Sportsbook gave him a 150-1 chance of winning.
Against Kyrgios, he had significant serve breaks in the final games of the first and third sets. Kyrgios reported knee pain after the opener and was assisted by a trainer.
When play resumed, he appeared unaffected and broke early in the second. At 4-all in the third set, Kyrgios had another chance to die, but he failed after a forehand error and spiking his racket.
He sat in his changeover chair, threw a drink, dumped his racket, and received a warning from Keothavong for unsportsmanlike behavior after losing that set with a backhand into the net two games later.
Khachanov was leading 6-5 and two points away from victory as Kyrgios served in the fourth set. Kyrgios held on and won the subsequent tiebreaker to force a fifth set.
Khachanov broke to begin the final set, went up 3-1, and then retired. “Expectations rise as you go deeper,” he explained. I took a step in that direction.