Nick Kyrgios went out of the US Open with less of a bang and more of a whimper as he succumbed to the brutish power of Karen Khachanov.
The Australian will now get the journey home he has spoken longingly of after going down 7-5 4-6 7-5 6-7 6-4 in three hours and 39 minutes with the time dead on 1am.
Initially troubled by a knee issue and perhaps ruing the decision to play doubles here – he never quite ignited and sometimes looked subdued in a match dominated by serve that saw 61 aces almost evenly split.
It has been a transformational summer for Kyrgios, but this was a deflating ending, despite him battling to the end when previously he might have folded.
With no previous champion in the field it was an excellent opportunity for him to join the ranks of Australian Major winners.
Instead the strapping and slightly mechanical Khachanov, who held his concentration admirably, will now face Norway’s Casper Ruud for a place in the final.
Kyrgios moves with a strange gait at the best of times but there was something definitely less animated about him as the first set rattled away at lightning pace.
Amid a flurry of aces from both men the first eleven games took just half and hour, before a tight twelfth that saw Kyrgios leave the door ajar for the Russian to get a foot in it.
Then came the call for the trainer, who entered the court to frantically massage what initially looked like either side of the Australian’s left knee.
‘I don’t want to play through this s**t,’ he told his support box in the corner – before promptly playing on and breaking Khachanov in the third game.
He slowly gained the ascendancy and restricted himself to chuntering at the change of ends of what was, in truth, and often uninspiring contest.
His temper snapped when he missed a second break point at 4-4 in the third, hurling his racket away in disgust and screaming some very audible obscenities which umpire James Keothavong chose to ignore.