Karen Khachanov qualifies for his second consecutive Grand Slam semi-final at the 2023 Australian Open by taking advantage of Sebastian Korda’s withdrawal.
Karen Khachanov has qualified for the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament for the second time in a row at the 2023 Australian Open. The Russian took advantage of Sebastian Korda’s retirement while leading 7-6, 6-3, 3-0 in the quarterfinals.
It was 7-6, 2-3 when the American felt discomfort in his right wrist. At the changeover he called a medical timeout before taking another one off the court at the end of the second set. Unable to control his forehand, he conceded seven consecutive games before shaking his opponent’s hand to signal the end of the match.
This was the first time in either the men’s or women’s draw that Khachanov was forced to retire from the competition.
Before that, Khachanov had also started the match better than Korda, leading quickly 5-2. The 23-year-old’s comeback didn’t stop him from closing out the first set in a tiebreak seven points to five on a beautiful backhand.
“I THINK I KIND OF REINVENTED MYSELF
The statistics of the 2022 US Open semifinalist in this match are in line with his superb fortnight, 27 winners to 18 unforced errors, 12 aces, no double-faults and four break points converted in nine opportunities.
“Back to back semi-finals in a Grand Slam – it feels great,” Khachanov said before tipping his cap to the American. “Oviously not the way you want to finish the match. I think until a certain point it was very competitive, a very good battle. Sebastian beat one of my friends, Daniil, in three sites in five sets against Hurkacz, you know he’s playing great tennis, so give applause to him.”
Khachanov improves to 2-2 against Korda and, most importantly, 2-0 against the American at the Grand Slams.
The Russian, who became one of just ten active players to have reached the quarter-finals at all four majors with his round of 16 thrashing of Yoshito Nishioka, has now won 10 of his last 11 Grand Slam matches. He improves to 2-2 overall in Grand Slam quarter-finals.
“I’m feeling good to be honest, really happy about my level, about the way I compete,” Khachanov said. “And looking forward to semi-finals here in Australia for the first time.”
To those that witnessed Khachanov win the Paris Masters crown in 2018 and later climb as high in the rankings as No 8 in 2019, the success doesn’t come as a massive surprise. But it has taken work for the 26-year-old to rediscover the form he currently displays.
“I think I kind of reinvented myself,” he said. “I would say I always believe in myself you know, but there are always ups and downs and sometimes when you have those great results, it just shows you what you’re capable of, and then you start to believe more and more. So this belief and self confidence, I think, appear much stronger after the US Open.
“I made it here to the semi-finals already, so I just hope to continue that way and to grow as a person and as a sportsman.”
THE END OF THE REVELATION TOURNAMENT FOR SEBASTIAN KORDA
Sebastian Korda made a name for himself with the general public during this first Grand Slam tournament of the season. His pure tennis has seduced and allowed him to eliminate Daniil Medvedev and Hubert Hurkacz to reach the first quarter-final of his career at a major tournament.
He virtually climbs to No. 25 in the world, his best career ranking. Khachanov has climbed to No. 13 and could return to the top 10 if he qualifies for the final. The last time he made it was in 2019.
He will face the winner of the match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Jiri Lehecka in the semi-finals.
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