Nick Kyrgios put up a five-set fight before finally falling 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-79(3), 6-4 to Karen Khachanov early Wednesday morning to end his dream run at the US Open in the quarter-finals.
Khachanov will now face off on Friday against fifth seed Casper Ruud, who dispatched Matteo Berrettini 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(4).
Between them, the pair of big hitters launched 60 aces – 30 each – in a struggle which lasted for nearly four hours.
Khachanov is into his first major semi-final: “I did it,” he said. “It was a crazy match.
“I was expecting it would be like this, but I was ready to run and fight.
I had opportunities in the fourth set but he played an amazing tiebreaker. After I lost it I just told myself to win the fifth set.
“I focused on the finish and I got the win.”
Khachanov now has two days off to get ready for Ruud, this season’s Roland Garros finalist against Rafael Nadal.
“I would like to win it,” he said of his immediate goal, my expectations are rising up.
“I have nothing to lose, I’ll try to be ready and hope I can pay well.”
Kyrgios and Khachanov drilled each other with nearly 40 winners in a tight first set, which was only decided 7-5 as Khachnov lofted a winning lob over his opponent to claim the opening set in 38 minutes.
Kyrgios took a massage on his left knee – he told the trainer “I can’t walk without pain” – after indicating the problem to his player box earlier during play.
The knee did not appear to be an issue for the remainder of the marathon match.
The Wimbledon finalist Australian who has become the night crowd favourite broke for a 2-1 lead and took his margin to 3-1.
Kyrgios moved out to 5-3 but missed on two set points while leading 5-4; he got a third chance as Khachanov netted , with the Aussie sending a blistering backhand out wide for a winner to square it up at a set each.
Late in the fifth set Kyrgios, down a break, served a love game to stay in touch 4-5.