Khachanov remembered the Olympics! Karen is the only Russian to reach the 3rd round of Rome
At the prestigious Masters, the Russian removed the Spaniard Pablo Carreno-Busta, the bronze medalist of Tokyo, from the road.
Karen Khachanov is the only one of the Russians who managed to get to the third round of the Masters in Rome. Our tennis player remembered the Olympics and dealt with the Spaniard Pablo Carreno-Busta, whom he defeated in Tokyo in the semi-finals.
The Masters in Rome brought together almost all the strongest participants, just like the previous similar tournament in Madrid. Still absent due to injury, Daniil Medvedev and Matteo Berrettini. But in the ranks of the best tennis players of the last decade and a half and last year’s finalists of Rome Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. The only thing missing is the triumphant Madrid 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz. Having brought the series of victories to 10 matches, taking into account the title in Barcelona, the young Spaniard took a break to better prepare for Roland Garros, where he will be one of the favorites.
Three Russians got into the main draw of the Masters in Rome – Aslan Karatsev, Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev, seeded under the sixth number. Unfortunately for Andrey, he finished the tournament just before he started. As a highly seeded player, he missed the 1st round, and in the second he sensationally lost to Filip Krajinovic – 2:6, 4:6. The defeat at the start of the tournament for Rublev is only the second of the season. He had a similar result only in Miami, where he lost to Australian Nick Kyrgios. Well, for the 30-year-old Serbian Krajinovic, this is just the 4th victory in his career over the current top 10 player. Previously, he beat Novak Djokovic, Dominik Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The semi-finalist of Roland Garros in 1989, the winner of two tournaments of the Masters series, Andrei Chesnokov, in an interview with the Championship, noted: “Rublev lost too early last year in Rome. It’s okay, you can’t keep the shape all the time. But Andrei played poorly. Krajinovic played one of the best matches for his level, so nothing difficult happened for Rublev. It is difficult to play in Madrid and then in Rome. We need a short break between these super tournaments.”
Did not pass the barrier of the second round and Aslan Karatsev. At the start, he barely defeated Lloyd George Harris – 6:3, 3:6, 7:6 (9:7), winning back from match points in the tie-break of the third set. And then the Russian went on the grid to the first racket of the world Novak Djokovic. Note that Aslan has already won Novak on clay when he arrived in Belgrade last year and did not let him into the final. Now the Serbian has a very important task at the tournament in Rome – he needs to reach at least the semi-finals in order to maintain leadership in the world rankings. Otherwise, next Monday, May 16, the title of the first racket of the world will go to Daniil Medvedev, and then he will receive the first seed number at Roland Garros. Djokovic successfully took the first step to defend his position by beating Karatsev in two sets – 6:3, 6:2.
Until Wednesday, only one Russian held out in the grid of Rome – Karen Khachanov. He successfully coped at the start with qualifier Giulio Zeppieri from Italy – 6:3, 6:4 and reached the bronze medalist of the Tokyo Olympics Pablo Carregno-Busta. Up to this point, the opponents played 7 times and the Russian had a slight advantage – 4-3 in personal meetings. Karen won Toronto 2018, Cincinnati/New York 2020, Indian Wells 2021, including the semi-finals of the Olympics. This time it was a stubborn uncompromising struggle. Tennis players have been picking up the keys to the opponent’s serve for a long time. In the 5th game, Khachanov managed to deflect 3 break points and hold his serve. And at the end of the game, the Russian himself, with a score of 5:4, reached the first break point and set point at the same time and immediately realized his chance – 6:4 in 46 minutes.
In the second set, Carreno-Busta improved noticeably. He began to play more aggressively and more attentively. Already in the third game, he made a break, and then made another one – 4:1. He could have taken the opponent’s third serve, but with the score 5:2, Karen played the set point. However, in the next game the Spaniard brought the game to victory – 6:2 in 45 minutes. In fact, Pablo was enough for the 2nd set. The third game was completely dictated by Khachanov, who just half an hour later was already celebrating the victory – 6:4, 2:6, 6:2.
So Karen Khachanov beat Carreno-Busta for the fifth time and the only Russian made it to the 3rd round of the Masters in Rome. There he will meet with the winner of the pair Grigor Dimitrov – Stefanos Tsitsipas.