OREANDA-NEWS Karen Khachanov sealed a first-ever Grand Slam semifinal appearance of his career as the big-serving Russian star overcame Nick Kyrgios at the US Open, defeating the man many had tipped to go all the way to the title in New York.

Kyrgios, 27, had been installed as favorite for the tournament after continuing his scintillating recent form with victory over Russian world number one and defending champion Daniil Medvedev in the previous round.

But he came up against the powerful Khachanov in their quarterfinal, with the Russian firing down 30 aces and converting four of the eight break points he manufactured while saving seven of the nine he faced on his own serve to win 7-5 4-6 7-5 6-7(3-7) 6-4.

A contest which began on Tuesday night ended up spanning just over three-and-a-half hours and finished in the early hours of Wednesday morning at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Number 27 seed Khachanov next plays fifth seed Casper Ruud in the semifinal on Friday, after Ruud eased past Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in straight sets in their last eight encounter on Tuesday.

Ruud, 23, is targeting a maiden Grand Slam title but could also rise to the world number one spot, depending on his success in New York.

For the Moscow-born Khachanov, 26, his progression to the semifinal makes it third time lucky, after he had failed to win either of his previous two Grand Slam quarterfinals – at Wimbledon in 2021 and Roland-Garros in 2019.

Khachanov remained steady throughout the contest with Kyrgios, who sent down 31 aces and produced some characteristically colorful moments by throwing tweeners into rallies, but also directing outbursts towards his box and smashing rackets – including two in a row at the conclusion of the match. He also appeared to complain of being hindered by a leg injury, receiving on-court medical treatment. 

“I’m really proud of myself, I was focused from the beginning to the end,” Khachanov said of his achievement. “It was a crazy match but I came ready to fight and to play five sets.”

Wimbledon finalist Kyrgios, seeded 23rd, said he was “devastated” by the defeat but praised his rival.

“All credit to Karen. He’s a fighter. He’s a warrior. I thought he served really good today,” said the Australian in his post-match press conference.

“Honestly probably the best server I played this tournament. The way he was hitting his spots under pressure. He just played the big points well.”

Russia’s Andrey Rublev will hope to join his compatriot in the semifinals when he takes on American home hero Frances Tiafoe in their quarterfinal at Flushing Meadows on Wednesday.

Tiafoe dumped out Spanish four-time winner Rafael Nadal in the last round – much to the delight of the New York crowd.

Rublev, 24, will be appearing in a third US Open quarterfinal, but has yet to make the last four of the tournament.

The winner of that match will play either Italian 11th seed Jannik Sinner or Spanish third seed Carlos Alcaraz.