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Russian achieves rare feat in crushing victory at Australian Open

Karen Khachanov routed Yoshihito Nishioka to reach the quarterfinals in Melbourne

Russia’s Karen Khachanov has booked his place in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open after a dominant victory against Japanese rival Yoshihito Nishioka on Sunday.

Khachanov hammered Nishioka 6-0 6-0 7-6 (7-4) in a one-sided match at John Cain Arena in Melbourne. Remarkably, the Russian won the first 14 games of the match before Nishioka put up some belated resistance to take the third set to a tiebreak.

The second set was particularly brutal for number 30 seed Nishioka as the big-hitting Khachanov, who is seeded 18th, conceded just two points to his opponent – a rare feat dubbed a ‘bronze set’ in tennis jargon.  

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Khachanov is now into the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the first time in his career. The performance also means he has reached the last-eight stage at each of the four Grand Slams in his career, becoming the 50th male player in the Open Era to do so.

“[The] first two sets I didn’t know what was going on, but it’s never easy when you are going with the score too easy. You feel it,” Khachanov, 26, said after his resounding win.

“At one point Yoshi tried to turn it around, he pumped the crowd and it’s normal. I tried to stay focused all the match from the beginning until the end.

“But it’s not easy to win with this score, three sets, so the third set it was a really tough one and I’m playing well, so I’m really happy to go through.”

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Khachanov had too much power for his Japanese rival.


©  Mackenzie Sweetnam / Getty Images

Khachanov will meet America’s Sebastian Korda in the quarterfinals on Tuesday – the man who knocked out Russian seventh seed Daniil Medvedev in a major upset in the third round.

Number 29 seed Korda, who is the son of former Australian Open winner Petr Korda, continued his fine form in Melbourne by dispatching Polish tenth seed Hubert Hurkacz in a five-set tussle in their fourth-round match on Sunday – sealing the match on a 10-point tiebreak.

For Korda, 22, it will be a first ever appearance in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam, while Khachanov boasts experience of reaching the semifinals of the US Open last season and claimed an Olympic silver medal in Tokyo in 2021.

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Elsewhere in the men’s singles draw, Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev will be aiming to join Khachanov in the last eight when he takes on Danish ninth seed Holger Rune in their fourth-round match on Monday.

There was an upset in the women’s draw on Sunday when Russian-born number 22 seed Elena Rybakina dumped out Polish top seed Iga Swiatek in straight sets in their fourth-round match. Rybakina, who has represented Kazakhstan since 2018 and won the Wimbledon title last year, will play Latvian 17th seed Jelena Ostapenko in the quarterfinal on Tuesday.

January 22, 2023 at 02:03PM
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