NEW YORK — Karen Khachanov stood on the court, arms raised, basking in the cheers of a raucous crowd after reaching his first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open. not far, Nick Kyrgios took out some of his frustration at the so-close-yet-far result on a pair of racquets.
First, shortly after the last point of his 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-4 loss to Khachanov, Kyrgios smashed his equipment against the ground — once, twice, three, four times. Then, for good measure, Kyrgios grabbed yet another racket from his bag, picked it up and hit that one on the sideline as well.
Kyrgios couldn’t quite follow through on his win over the defending champion Daniel Medvedev at Flushing Meadows, bowing out in a high-profile, topsy-turvy quarterfinal that began Tuesday night and ended more than 3½ hours later around 1 a.m. ET Wednesday at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“It’s just devastating. Like, it’s heartbreaking,” said Kyrgios, a 27-year-old from Australia, who was the runner-up at Wimbledon in July. “Pretty much every other tournament during the year is a waste of time, really. You should just run and show up at a Grand Slam. That’s what you’re remembered for.”
Asked about Kyrgios’ display of disappointment, Khachanov said he saw “racquets flying”, adding: “I feel the pain for him”.
Early in the match, two spectators were ejected after one gave the other a haircut in the stands. By the end, the late spectators were loudly cheering for Kyrgios. At one point in the fourth set, chair umpire James Keothavong pleaded: “Again, ladies and gentlemen: Respect both players.”
“I was ready. I expected the crowd to be more for him, that he’s the favorite in their eyes,” said the No. 27-seeded Khachanov, who was 0-2 in major quarterfinals before this one vs. that one. No. 23 Kyrgios.
Khachanov will face number 5 Kasper Ruud on Friday for a spot in the championship game.
“I’m really proud of myself,” said Khachanov. “I was really focused from start to finish.”
Both he and Kyrgios are provided with thunderous servings, and they have combined for 61 aces (31 from Kyrgios). Since aces were first tracked in 1991, it marked the second US Open men’s match featuring players with 30-plus aces. The other came in the quarter-finals (2004) between Joachim Johansson (30) and Andy Roddick (34).
Kyrgios and Khachanov also combined for 138 total winners (75 from Kyrgios).
Two statistics that were real difference-makers: Kyrgios made 58 unforced errors, Khachanov 31. And Khachanov saved 7 of 9 break points he faced.
The success 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 not allowed to play 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 collected key breaks of service in the last game of the first and third sets. After the opener, Kyrgios complained of a sore knee and was visited by a trainer.
He didn’t seem to show any ill effects once play resumed, and broke down early in the second.
Kyrgios had a chance to break again at 4-all in the third but couldn’t convert, flubbing a forehand, and then jabbed his racket. Two games later, he put a backhand into the net to drop that set, then sat in his changing chair, threw away his racket and threw a drink, drawing a caution for unsportsmanlike conduct from Keothavong.
Khachanov came within two points of victory while leading 6-5 when Kyrgios served in the fourth set. Kyrgios hung in there and dominated the ensuing tiebreaker to force a fifth.
Then Khachanov broke to start the last set, was soon up 3-1 and was on his way.
“The deeper you go, the expectations get higher,” he said. “I took a step forward.”
Information from The Associated Press and ESPN Stats & Information was used in this report.