Casper Ruud defeated Karen Khachanov in a US Open semifinal by claiming a 55-shot point to end the opening set. He then went on to win the match 7-6 (5), 6-2, 5-7, 6-2, advancing to his second Grand Slam championship match of the year. At the conclusion of the game, Arthur Ashe Stadium spectators chanted Ruuuuud! in a manner that seemed more booing than cheering.
If the 23-year-old Norwegian Casper Ruud wins the championship on Sunday at Flushing Meadows. He may move up from No. 7 to No. 1 in the rankings after he placed second to Rafael Nadal at the French Open in June.
I was, of course, ecstatic after Roland Garros. But I was also realistic enough to believe that it may have been the final match of my career, according to Casper Ruud. He’s back at that place now, only a few months later. Carlos Alcaraz, the No. 3 seed from Spain, will be his opponent. Despite Frances Tiafoe’s valiant attempts, Alcaraz won the latter semifinal match on Friday.
The winner of Sunday’s final will take Daniil Medvedev’s spot as the new No. 1 man in the world, succeeding the winner of the 2021 US Open. All four of the men’s semifinalists were making their competitive debuts in that New York round. When it absolutely had to, in 1881—the year the U.S. Championships were first held—that had not occurred during the competition.
Casper Ruud is mentored by his father Christian, a former professional tennis player. And against 31st-ranked Khachanov, a 6-foot-6 Russian with a powerful serve who upset Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios in five sets in the quarterfinals. The tactic against Khachanov mostly succeeded.
In order to reduce the effect of Khachanov’s serves. Ruud would position himself far behind the baseline while returning and then attempt to dictate exchanges from there. For side-to-side defense, Ruud had faultless footwork. He also saw opportunities to throw deep groundstrokes that may score.
He occasionally displayed brilliance, as seen by the over-the-shoulder volley winner that gave him a 6-3 tiebreaker lead. The game-winning point happened soon after Ruud’s third opportunity to end the set. Ruud’s down-the-line backhand that drew a netted forehand in response completed the rally, which was 75 seconds longer than the second-longest rally of the whole two-week period.
His father grinned. His toddler raised both arms, extending the two fingers of his right hand. It may have only been the index finger to represent No. 1, which might eventually be shown next to his name.
Khachanov could not recall a 55-shot comeback from any of his previous matches, despite his desire to win. Despite this, he was originally inspired by his performance at the conclusion of the set.
I was kind of excited that we had this extended rally and that we were both going, he added. I thought, OK, it’s hard to lose a set with this point, so let’s continue playing, on one side. On the other hand, I reasoned that because we were traveling quickly, I should continue.
Ruud broke to go up 2-1 in the second set and was almost successful. By crushing a down-the-line forehand winner from the doubles lane, Ruud broke to take the lead 2-1 in the fourth. Khachanov rallied late in the third to provide a little intrigue.
In terms of Grand Slam play, this is Ruud’s most recent step on a strong upward trend. He entered this year with just a 14-13 record at the major tournaments in his sport, including 3-4 in New York, where his best performance to date was a third-round showing in 2020. He then had to withdraw from the Australian Open in January after twisting his ankle in practice the day before the competition started. After that? In the majors in 2022, he is 13-2.
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