Karen Khachanov entered the US Open with two Major quarter-finals on his tally. The Russian has found his form in New York, beating five rivals and advancing into the first Major semi-final. Khachanov ousted Nick Kyrgios 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-7, 6-4 in three hours and 39 minutes for a career-best result, overpowering the Aussie and the crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium that cheered for his opponent.
Karen played better behind the second serve and defended seven out of nine break chances. Kyrgios got broken four times to hit the exit door despite giving his best, suffering an early break in the decider that propelled the Russian through.
Karen expected the crowd to support his rival, and he had already experienced that on the same court four years ago against Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard and the Russian embraced the US Open epic in 2018, with Rafa prevailing 5-7, 7-5, 7-6, 7-6 after four hours and 28 minutes of a memorable battle.
Khachanov passed the opening two rounds without losing a set and gave his best against the defending champion. Nadal needed everything from his arsenal to emerge at the top, playing better on the first and second serve and converting five out of 13 break chances.
Karen Khachanov is through to his first Major semi-final in New York.
Karen blasted 22 aces and delivered five breaks from 11 opportunities, finishing the match with 66 winners and 55 unforced errors. Nadal stood on a 49-38 ratio and did enough in the decisive moments to seal the deal in four sets and avoid a five-hour clash in the most extended US Open four-setter.
Rafa prevailed in sets two and three and grabbed a break at 1-1 in the fourth to move closer to the finish line. The Spaniard served for the victory at 5-4 before the Russian broke back at love to extend his chances. Nadal fended off a set point on his serve at 5-6 and overpowered the opponent 7-4 in the tie break to seal the deal and prevail in one of the most notable matches of the season.
"I expected the crowd would be more for Nick and that he was the favorite in their eyes. I do not get upset about that. I played against Rafa in 2018, which was a similar thing. I knew what to do and how focused I had to stay. I had to deliver a good match, and I did that," Karen Khachanov said.