NEW YORK — Karen Khachanov stood on the field with arms raised, basking in the cheers of a rowdy crowd after reaching his first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open. Not far away, Nick Kyrgios took some of his frustration out at the result that was so close but so far on a few racquets.
First, shortly after the last run of his 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-4 loss to Khachanov, Kyrgios broke his equipment to the ground — once, twice, three , four times. Then, just for the record, Kyrgios took another racket from his bag, backed off and slammed that one to the sidelines as well.
Kyrgios couldn’t quite follow his win over defending champion Daniil Medvedev in Flushing Meadows, bowing out in a high-quality, tumultuous quarter-final that started Tuesday night and finished more than 3½ hours later at around 1:00 AM ET Wednesday at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“It’s just devastating. It’s heartbreaking,” said Kyrgios, a 27-year-old from Australia who finished second at Wimbledon in July. “Virtually any other tournament during the year is really a waste of time. You just have to run to a Grand Slam and show up. That’s what you’re reminded of.”
Asked about Kyrgios’ display of disappointment, Khachanov said he saw “racquets flew”, adding: “I feel the pain for him.”
At the start of the match, two spectators were kicked out after one gave the other a haircut in the stands. Towards the end, the late spectators drew loudly for Kyrgios. At one point in the fourth set, chair umpire James Keothavong pleaded, “Again, ladies and gentlemen, respect both players.”
“I was prepared. I expected that the audience would be more for him, that he was the favorite in their eyes,” said Khachanov with number 27, who played against No. 23 Kirgios for this one.
Khachanov will face number 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 start to finish.”
Both he and Kyrgios are equipped with huge serves and together they came to 61 aces (31 from Kyrgios). Since aces were first tracked in 1991, this was the second US Open men’s game with players having more than 30 aces. The other came in the 2004 quarterfinals between Joachim Johansson (30) and Andy Roddick (34).
Kyrgios and Khachanov together also provided 138 winners in total (75 from Kyrgios).
Two stats that really made a difference: Kyrgios made 58 unforced errors, Khachanov 31. And Khachanov saved 7 of the 9 breakpoints he got.
The breakthrough at Wimbledon and two recent wins over No. 1 Medvedev – including in the fourth round, ending his title defense – made Kyrgios a popular choice to claim his first Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows.
Khachanov was banned from playing at Wimbledon this year after the All England Club banned all players from his country, Russia and Belarus over 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, Khachanov took important service breaks in the last game of the first and third set. Kyrgios complained about a sore knee after the opener and was visited by a trainer.
He appeared to have no 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 failed to convert, fluttering a forehand and then jabbing his racket. Two games later, he backhanded into the net to drop that set, then sat in his substitution chair, tossed his racket and threw a drink, receiving a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct from Keothavong.
Khachanov came within two points of victory while leading 6-5 when Kyrgios served in the fourth set. Kyrgios held out and dominated the ensuing tiebreak to force a fifth.
Then Khachanov broke to start the last set, quickly led 3-1 and was on his way.
“The deeper you go, the higher the expectations,” he said. “I took a step forward.”
This report uses information from The Associated Press and ESPN Stats & Information.
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