Russian Karen Khachanov did what countryman and incumbent World no. 1 Daniil Medvedev failed to do in the US Open: beat Nick Kyrgios. The flaming Aussie dusted the top seed in four throbbing sets of tennis. But in the lesser known Khachanov, the enfant terrible of Canberra got drawn into a street fight with the Muscovite. As the two traded points, aces and sets, the 27th seed delivered the final blow 3 hours and 39 minutes after their bout began. The scoreboard inside a raucous Arthur Ashe Stadium read 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4. Such was his will and grit for the fight; Kyrgios found his spirit and racquets broken in equal measure.
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The Russian has scrapped and fisted his way into the semis. It began with a four-setter against Denis Kudla. Dropping the first set 3-6, he roared back to win 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. In the second round, unseeded Brazilian Thiago Monteiro drew him into a tighter four-set battle. After nearly three hours, he prevailed 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. In the third, against Briton Jack Draper, a potential sizzler ended abruptly when Draper retired deep into the third set after the two shared the first two. The fourth round was a bruising five-set scrap-fest against the 12th seed, Pablo Carreno Busta. Three hours and 21 minutes later, Khachanov still stood. It began badly for him, dropping the first two sets, but he stirred eventually, snaffling the next three to win 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3. Primed for the fight by now, he outlasted the dangerous Kyrgios in the final eight.
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Pitted against 5th seeded Norwegian Casper Ruud, the 26-year-old will battle the odds for a place in his first Slam final. A win tonight, and he’ll face either homecourt favourite Frances Tiafoe or the highest remaining seed, Carlos Alcaraz, in the Sunday final.