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Casper Ruud's Winning Act

By Richard Pagliaro | Friday, September 9, 2022

NEW YORK—All the world's a stage.

Casper Ruud is a major scene stealer.

Watch: Alcaraz Pulls Off Best Shot of US Open

The fifth-seeded Ruud repelled Karen Khachanov 7-6(5), 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 to make history as the first Norwegian man to reach the US Open final.

If Frances Tiafoe beats Carlos Alcaraz in tonight's second semifinal or if Ruud defeats Alcaraz in Sunday's US Open final, then the seventh-ranked Norwegian will make the biggest leap in ATP history to reach world No. 1.

Afterward, Ruud credited his baseline consistency—and acting chops—for empowering him to his second Grand Slam final of the season.

"Yeah, there is acting in sports. Tennis especially," Ruud said. "It's such a mental and psychological game that any small detail can help you win the match."

Roland Garros runner-up Ruud out-dueled Khachanov in an epic 55-shot rally—longest exchange of this 2022 US Open—on set point to capture the first set.

Showing no signs of fatigue after that lung-busting epic point, Ruud said he took a page from the Venus Williams playbook: fake it till you make it.

"After the set point when I won the first set, we are both probably like dying because we're out of breath. At least I felt my knees or my legs were sort of shaking," Ruud said. "I felt like - what do you call it - the liquid acid in the quads especially. But I tried to not show Karen that I'm tired because I don't want him to think that, This is tiring for Casper.

"When we went out in the second set, I tried to do my best to keep a good posture, even though I was still feeling the pulse from the last point."

Acting calm amid chaos has helped Ruud script another major success story.

"If things don't go well, I mean, people show feelings more than others, but I always try to keep calm," Ruud said. "Even though I'm probably sometimes boiling over in frustration, I try not to show my opponents that I am frustrated because I think that they can get a small advantage if they see that you are frustrated."

Photo credit: Al Bello/Getty