US Open: Casper Ruud defeats Karen Khachanov to reach final
New York, New York - Casper Ruud is through to his second career grand slam final after emerging triumphant 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 5-7 6-2 in Friday's semi-final against Karen Khachanov.
Ruud (23) will be searching for his first major title after losing to Rafael Nadal in the French Open decider in June. He will face Carlos Alcaraz after the 19-year-old beat the US' Frances Tiafoe (24) in the semis.
By defeating Khachanov, Ruud has now won 13 of his past 15 matches. While it is usually his return game that dictates his effectiveness, against the Russian, it was about his ability to win points on serve.
A tight first set saw the two players exchange breaks, securing two each before Ruud took the only point against serve in the tie-break.
Whatever he figured out in the breaker carried into the second set, as he did not drop a single point (16-of-16) while serving in the frame. In a near-perfect set, Ruud tallied 12 winners and two unforced errors, while Khachanov shot himself in the foot with three double faults.
With his back to the wall, Khachanov responded well in the third, finding his range with his ground strokes to post 15 winners and four unforced errors, while winning 83% (24-of-29) of his service points.
But that would be his last piece of resistance before Ruud took over down the stretch, rattling off five consecutive games in the fourth set to turn a 0-1 deficit into a 5-1 lead, serving it out to love.
With his semi-final win, Ruud has become the first Norwegian male athlete to reach the US Open final.
Cover photo: REUTERS