4 min read
The men are putting it all on the line this weekend with the men’s semifinals set to entertain and thrill fans on Friday. A first-time Grand Slam winner is guaranteed as the remaining contenders include Casper Ruud, Karen Khachanov, Frances Tiafoe, and Carlos Alcaraz.
Let’s take a look at the men’s semifinal matchups, with Universal Tennis INSIGHTS.
(5) Casper Ruud (15.77) vs. (27) Karen Khachanov (15.47)
The first men’s semifinal on Friday will feature a well-rested Casper Ruud against Karen Khachanov. Ruud is vying for the ATP No. 1 ranking and is making history for Norway. At Roland Garros, he became the first Norwegian to reach a Grand Slam final.
“I don’t want to think too much about it, honestly,” Ruud said about the race for No.1. “It’s something that of course, all young players dream about, so if I’m in a position to do it, let’s see if I can accomplish it… Of course, it’s a little bit of extra motivation to dig in, and even if you’re down on the score, to keep fighting. You never know what’s going to happen and if I’m very, very lucky I can leave New York as World No. 1. So I’m trying to go for it of course.”
According to INSIGHTS, Ruud could repeat the feat in New York with 67% odds of advancing past Khachanov and into Sunday’s championship match. Ruud hasn’t faced off against Khachanov since beating him in their only meeting, in Rome in 2020.
While Ruud has largely cruised this fortnight, Khachanov has had to work for it. The 26-year-old has been pushed to five sets twice, in the round of 16 against Pablo Carreno Busta and the quarterfinals against Nick Kyrgios. This marks his first major semifinal appearance.
(3) Carlos Alcaraz (15.91) vs. (22) Frances Tiafoe (15.51)
Alcaraz will look to get as much rest as possible before his semifinal showdown against Tiafoe later on Friday night. The 19-year-old Spaniard’s five-set win over Jannik Sinner on Wednesday set a record for the latest finish. The two battled for 5 hours and 15 minutes until 2:50 a.m.
“I still don’t know how I did it,” Alcaraz said. “The level that I played, the level of the match, the high quality of the tennis. It’s unbelievable, the match today. Jannik Sinner is a great player. As everybody could see, his level is just amazing.”
Alcaraz is the youngest Grand Slam men’s semifinalist since Rafael Nadal in 2005 and the youngest at the US Open since Pete Sampras in 1990. He’s also in position to achieve the top ranking, which would make him the youngest No. 1 in history. If Ruud and Alcaraz meet in the final, the winner will become the new No. 1.
Alcaraz still has a ways to go. Tiafoe is riding high after backing up his upset of Rafael Nadal with a straight-sets win over Andrey Rublev to reach his first-ever Grand Slam semifinal. He has a win over Alcaraz, having beaten the teen in their only meeting in Barcelona last year. INSIGHTS expects Alcaraz to prevail at 73% odds.
“I feel so at home on courts like this,” Tiafoe said on court. “This court is unbelievable. [The crowd] gets so far behind me, I want to play, I want to give my best. I always find a way somehow on this court, I always play some great tennis, and I have been. Let’s enjoy this, we’ve got two more.”
•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 12:00 p.m. EST, September 8, 2022.