Since the 2022 US Open, Khachanov Has Been a Grand Slam Fortress

The hard-working, mentally rugged Russian continus to plow deeper in Paris.

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday June 4, 2023

It took Karen Khachanov 22 Grand Slam main draws to reach his first major semifinal – now he’s going for three in a row in Paris.

Tennis Express

The Russian rallied from a set and break down to take out Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6(7), 6-1 in Court Suzanne-Lenglen on Sunday to set a quarterfinal clash with Novak Djokovic at Roland-Garros.

The No.11 seed, who reached the last four at the 2022 US Open and the 2023 Australian Open, is into the quarterfinals in Paris for the second time, and the first time since 2019.

Khachanov needed time to play his way into the match, but once he did he took over the run of play from the dynamic Italian and finished off his win in three hours and 29 minutes to improve to 21-6 lifetime on the Parisian clay.

“After the first set and a half I was thinking I don’t know what I am doing here,” he said. “He was hitting all over the place, I didn’t start very well, I didn’t know what to do. The only thing I could do is to fight, to try to find a way, and I did it.” The 27-year-old credits his grittiness in a best-of-five setting.

“I think I’m more and more prepared physically and mentally and that’s why I feel strong playing best of five,” he said. “In a normal tournament if you are one set and a half down you are almost going to the shower. Here you still know that the opponent has to win in three sets, it’s not easy. That’s why [best-of-five] makes me feel stronger and more confident.”

The World No.11 has won 14 of 16 at the Grand Slams starting with his US Open semifinal run last year, but his journey gets far more difficult next week.

Khachanov owns a 1-8 lifetime record against Djokovic. He scored a career-changing win over the Serbian legend in the Paris Masters final in 2018, but since then has lost seven in succession.

Djokovic, who defeated Pablo Varillas on Sunday in straight sets, is bidding for his record 23rd Grand Slam men’s singles title. Title: Since the 2022 US Open, Khachanov Has Been a Grand Slam Fortress
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Published Date: Sun, 04 Jun 2023 09:14:28 GMT

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