The 23-year-old Norwegian ranked No. 5 will play for the men’s singles title at the US Open after defeating Russia’s Karen Khachanov in the semi-finals on Friday, 7-6 (5), 6-2, 5-7, 6-2. Roode will face the winner of Friday’s prime-time men’s semi-final between Francis Tiafoe and Carlos Alcaraz.
Roode’s win puts him in the Grand Slam final for the second time in a calendar year. Lost to Rafael Nadal in French Open Final earlier this year.
To reach the semi-finals, Rudd defeated Kyle Edmund, Tim van Reethoven, Tommy Ball, Corentin Mutet, and Matteo Berrettini.
Khachanov’s path to the semi-finals included victories over Denis Kudla, Thiago Monteiro, Jack Draper and Pablo Carreno Busta. In the quarter-finals, Khachanov achieved a difficult victory over Australian Nick Kyrgios, beating him in five sets, 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-4.
Khachanov and Rudd split the first 12 games of the first set, breaking each other twice as they seemed to test each other, seeing how far the other could extend Raleigh and respond with a shot or a slide. Prior to Friday’s semi-final, Ruud and Khachanov only played each other once, in Rome, where Ruud defeated Khachanov.
In the first set tiebreak, Rudd seemed to gain some leadership, playing confidently into the net, going up 6-3 with the backhand winner.
Rodd finished the set and won the tiebreak 7-5 days Rally went to 55 shots. When Rudd won the point and the set, the crowd erupted at Arthur Ashe Stadium, which had been relatively tamed until that point.
Prior to that set, Rudd had done well in this year’s tiebreak, scoring 21-12. Khachanov has won 11 tiebreaks and lost 14 so far this year.
Rudd appeared to have settled after winning the first set and leading 4-1 in the second. In the next match, Rudd consolidated his lead to 5-1, left no points and won with a forehand down the line.
Lagging behind on the set, Khachanov got some vocal support from the upper echelons of Ash as two fans would occasionally chant “Karen, Karen.” But Rudd also had his fans on the field shouting “Casper” and two fans sitting three rows behind the base line waving small Norwegian flags.
Rudd finished the second set, 6-2, and left no points in the final set.
Having fallen 30-0 in the second half of the third set, Khachanov threw a ball in the air. Knowing that Rudd would take advantage and hit a forehand, Khachanov didn’t bother running to get back and instead walked for a towel. Roode won the point and the game to each make the third set.
While Khachanov was not interested in trying to replay this smash, he continued to fight and hold his service games. After ten matches in the third set, the two players tied 5-5.
Then, trailing in the set 6-5, Rudd failed to hold on. Khachanov won the third set 7-5, pushing the match up to fourth.
Ashe’s floodlights lit up after the first game of the fourth set, and something seemed to lit up in Rudd as well.
Rudd held a serve match, then broke Khachanov, winning the match with a powerful forehand to take a 2–1 lead in the fourth set. Rudd won the next inning, and Khachanov broke again, winning the second inning with a powerful shot that excited the crowd.
Rudd, who led 4-1, had his first US Open final. He held his serve again, and went on to lead 5-1, but Khachanov refused to lose the match on his serve and pushed it to 5-2, ending the match with a header.
Rudd, now ready to close things down, won the fourth set and the match, not giving up any points in the final, winning with a forehand he was so reliant on.
As Rud approached the net to shake hands with Khachanov, fans in the crowd let out a booming sound, “Ruuuuud.”
“Of course, there will always be some tension, but I was lucky to win the first set,” Rudd said on court after the match.
Rudd became the first Norwegian team to qualify for the US Open men’s final. By reaching the final, Roode could jump to first place if Alcaraz lost their semi-final match or if Roode won the final.
Rudd is now waiting for the winner between Tiafoe and Alcaraz. Rudd never played Tiafoe, losing to Alcaraz twice.
Earlier this year, he defeated Alcaraz Roode in the Masters 1000 final in Miami on a hard court. Alcaraz also beat Rod on clay last year in a tournament held in Marbella, Spain.
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