Going the distance: Ruud’s 55-shot rally wows US Open crowd

NEW YORK: A 55-shot marathon rally got fans on their feet at Flushing Meadows on Friday but nearly beat the two men who lived through it, Norway’s Casper Ruud and Russia’s Karen Khachanov, who won in their US Open entered the semi-finals.

Fifth-seeded Ruud defeated Khachanov 7-6(5) 6-2 5-7 6-2 to claim his second Grand Slam championship match of the year but said it took a Herculean effort after he had won the tie-break in the first set in the world’s longest rally tournament by far.

“After set point, when I won the first set, we’re both probably dying because we’re out of breath. At least I felt my knees or my legs tremble somehow. I felt – what do you call it – especially the liquid acid in the quads,” he said.

Epic rallies are no stranger to the Grand Slam stage, with a 71-shot thriller at the 2013 Australian Open between France’s Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils.

The exchange between Ruud and Khachanov far surpassed the second-longest rallies of the tournament, a 36-shot third-round bout between Russia’s Daniil Medvedev and China’s Wu Yibing, tournament organizers said.

“I’ve never had a 55-stroke rally,” said Khachanov, who had already hit five straight sets in the previous two rounds against Australians Nick Kyrgios and Pablo Carreno Busta.

“I felt pumped in a way that we had this long rally,” said Khachanov, who quickly realized as he fought his way through a one-sided second set that the point had taken its toll.

“A few games after that showed me that it wasn’t so good, the long rally.”

Ruud will face Spanish third-placed Carlos Alcaraz in the last Sunday of the US Open.