US Open SF preview: Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov continue history in New York | ATP Tour | Tennis

Casper Ruud’s quest for a maiden Grand Slam title will come to a head on Friday when he appears in court against Karen Khachanov in the semi-finals at the US Open.

The Norwegian demonstrated his league titles by knocking out Italian Matteo Berrettini in straight sets to record his 43rd win of a stellar season. With confidence high and the No. 1 Pepperstone ATP ranking within reach, the fifth seed looks like a major threat on New York’s hard courts.

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However, having never been beyond the third round in four previous appearances at Flushing Meadows, Ruud admitted he did not expect his success in New York this fortnight.

“Honestly, I’m a bit surprised to have reached the semi-finals here,” Ruud said after his win over Berrettini. “But I think I’ve developed my hard-court game a lot over the last year or two, and I think Miami has shown me this year and I’ve proven to myself that I can beat good players and hit goals. later stages in big hard-court tournaments. It was kind of a confidence booster for myself.

Ruud qualified for the final on hard courts in Miami in April, before reaching the semi-finals in Montreal last month. Having demonstrated his pedigree on the surface, the 23-year-old will be aiming to raise his level even further when he takes on 27th seed Khachanov at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Ruud, who reached his only Grand Slam final at Roland Garros in June, leads the 26-year-old 1-0 in their ATP Head2Head series.

The task at hand won’t be easy for the Norwegian though, with Khachanov in the form of his life. The 26-year-old knocked out Montreal champion Pablo Carreno Busta in the fourth round before defeating Australian Nick Kyrgios in a five-set thriller to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final.

The four-time tour-level title list climbed to No. 18 in the Pepperstone ATP live rankings due to his run at Flushing Meadows and could jump to No. 11 if he wins his first title since 2018 and that other results support it.

Khachanov hit his career-high world No. 8 in July 2019 after winning the Rolex Paris Masters, an ATP Masters 1000 event, the previous November.

“It’s one more step forward,” Khachanov said after his win over Kyrgios. “I’m really, really happy that I was able to do it. Also I had to face and beat Nick, who plays [some] of the best tennis. It was obviously a tough game with the type of forward approach. I just did it. I took the step forward. I made my first semi-final, so it’s pretty simple in my head. I’m just very happy.

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Marin Cilic’s fourth-round loss to Carlos Alcaraz in the early hours of Tuesday morning ensured there would be a first Grand Slam winner in New York this year.

If Ruud lifts the trophy on Sunday, he would become the first Norwegian to climb to world No. 1 since Pepperstone’s ATP rankings were established in 1973 – a clear path to the top spot after Rafael Nadal’s loss to Frances Tiafoe. Learn more about Battle For World No. 1.

“I don’t want to think about it too much, honestly,” Ruud said of the race for No.1. “It’s something that of course all young players dream of, so if I’m able to , let’s see if I can accomplish it… Of course, it’s a little extra motivation to dig in, and even if you’re down on the score, to keep fighting. You never know what will happen and if I’m very lucky I can leave New York as world No. 1. So I’m trying to go there of course.

With the pressure on, all eyes will be on Ruud, 23, as he seeks to pass the Khachanov test and make more history in New York.

US Open SF preview: Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov continue history in New York | ATP Tour | Tennis

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