Casper Ruud made it through to his second Grand Slam final of the year after a 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 5-7 6-2 victory against Karen Khachanov in the semi-finals of the US Open on Friday.
The Norwegian, who lost out to Rafael Nadal in the French Open final earlier this year, will get a second bite at the Grand Slam cherry on Sunday when he takes on the winner of the match between Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz or home hope Frances Tiafoe.
Ruud is now guaranteed to overtake Rafael Nadal to top spot in the rankings, unless 19-year-old Alcaraz wins the title.
“This was another great match from my side. I think we were both a bit nervous at the beginning. This match is probably the biggest match of both of our careers,” said Ruud.
“Phenomenal in the second and the fourth sets and Karen stepped up in the third. I’m just extremely happy. I thought the French Open might have been the only slam final of my career. Here I am back again a couple of months later. It feels beyond words to describe.”
Khachanov vs Ruud: Match Stats
|68%||1st serve win percentage||83%|
|48%||2nd serve win percentage||59%|
|3/5||Break points won||6/13|
|104||Total points won||128|
This was a huge chance for both men – for the first time since the inaugural tournament in 1881, all four men were first-time semi-finalists in New York – and early nerves were evident.
Ruud led 2-0 then found himself a break down as Khachanov, the Olympic silver medallist last summer, took four of the next five games – but back came the Norwegian.
The tie-break was also tight but it was Ruud who clinched it on his third set point after a quite extraordinary 55-shot rally.
The fifth seed then appeared to take complete control of the contest in the second set only for Khachanov to fight back and claim the third.
Ruud came out stronger at the start of the fourth, though, breaking serve with a monstrous forehand in the third game and pulling away to claim victory just shy of three hours.
Salisbury & Ram defend US Open men’s doubles title
Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram became just the second team in the open era to successfully defend their US Open men’s doubles title.
With Neal Skupski and his Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof on the other side of the net, there was guaranteed to be a British winner, and it was Salisbury and American Ram who came out on top of a tight contest, winning 7-6 (7-4) 7-5.
It is a third Grand Slam title together for Ram and Salisbury, who also won the Australian Open in 2020, and they follow in the footsteps of Australian greats Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, the last team to win back-to-back titles in New York in 1995 and 1996.
Both British players showed their respects to the Queen, Salisbury with a black armband and Skupski a black ribbon on his shirt.
Salisbury said: “It’s definitely felt a little bit strange, especially after the win yesterday. We were on such a high from that. It was an incredible match. We were so happy with that win.
“Obviously then to come off court and see the news was very sad. And I think everyone wasn’t quite sure how to act.
“It didn’t feel appropriate to be overly celebrating or at least showing that too much, because obviously everybody back home and around the world is in mourning at the moment, and it’s a very sad time.”
The 30-year-old Londoner added: “Definitely feels a bit strange to be in this situation. Obviously we are very happy with the success that we have had but it’s a sad time at the same moment.”
The victory also means Salisbury, who has also won two mixed doubles titles, holds on to the world number No 1 ranking. Skupski would have overtaken him had he and Koolhof lifted the trophy.
Hewett into wheelchair final for a sixth straight year
Alfie Hewett is through to the US Open men’s wheelchair singles final for a sixth straight year after a comfortable win over France’s Nicolas Peifer.
Remarkably, Norfolk’s Hewett has reached the final on each of his visits to Flushing Meadows, winning the title in 2017 and 2018 but losing the other three finals.
In an expanded draw, he is so far yet to drop a set through three matches and eased to a 6-3 6-1 victory against Peifer.
Hewett will now renew his rivalry with top seed Shingo Kunieda from Japan, who is bidding to become the first man to complete the calendar Grand Slam in men’s wheelchair singles.
Hewett, 24, lost to Kunieda here last year as well as in the finals of the Australian Open and the French Open this season.
Meanwhile, the first boys’ wheelchair singles final at a Grand Slam will be an all-British affair between Ben Bartram and Dahnon Ward.