Karen Khachanov Quietly into the US Open Quarterfinals

Karen Khachanov 2022 US Open

26-year-old Karen Khachanov is into his first career US Open quarterfinal after besting Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6 6-3 6-1 4-6 6-3 on Sunday. It is his third career Grand Slam quarterfinal, but his first on a hard court. Khachanov is just 30-20 this season with his best result coming as a runner-up finish in Adelaide. That said, this run to the US Open quarterfinals has already raised his projected world ranking eight spots to No. 23.

Khachanov has quietly put together a very impressive resume at age 26. Often overlooked, he has reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and now the US Open while claiming the 2020 Olympic Silver Medal and 2018 Paris Masters title.

Khachanov reached a career-high ranking of world No. 8 in July of 2019. Over the past few seasons, he has been plagued by inconsistencies. Khachanov can come out hitting massive first-serves and blistering forehands, making him one of the most dangerous players on tour. On the other hand, he sometimes looks lost and uninterested, falling to players he has no business losing to.

Khachanov at the 2022 US Open

Khachanov began his 2022 US Open campaign as the #27 overall seed. After dropping the first set of the tournament, he was able to rebound with a four-set victory over Denis Kudla. Khachanov followed that up with a four-set victory over Thiago Monteiro.

His third-round match came against 20-year-old Brit Jack Draper. Draper had taken out #6 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime the round before and had been playing fantastic hard-court tennis all summer. Khachanov and Draper split the first two sets before the young lefty had to retire down 5-6 in the third due to a leg injury. Had Draper stayed healthy, we could be talking about a different first-time US Open quarterfinalist right now. With that said, the time on-court that was saved due to Draper’s retirement paid dividends in Khachanov’s fourth round, five-set victory over Carreno Busta.

The aforementioned victory over the #12 seed and two-time US Open semifinalist was just Khachanov’s second victory against a Top 15 player this season.

Going Forward

Khachanov is set to take on #23 seed Nick Kyrgios in the US Open quarterfinals. Kyrgios, who is now the betting favorite to win the event, is coming off of a fantastic victory over #1 seed Daniil Medvedev. The Aussie has been the best player on Tour over the past two months, finishing as a runner-up at Wimbledon and winning the Citi Open in Washington DC. Kyrgios is fully focused on winning every match and has the fitness and form to do so. He is 20-3 since the start of Wimbledon.

Khachanov will certainly be up against it when he steps onto the court against the Aussie on Tuesday. Although they have split their only two meetings, Kyrgios is currently a -450 betting favorite in this matchup. The last time these two meet was a four-hour and 26-minute, five-set marathon in the third round of the 2020 Australian Open.

Since that match, Khachanov and Kyrgios have engaged in some unfriendly online banter, only upping the intrigue for this quarterfinal bout.

Khachanov’s path to victory starts with his first serve. When he is finding his targets consistently he becomes very tough to break. That said, just getting the ball in the box will be half the battle against Kyrgios. All tournament long Kyrgios has taken a few steps in and jumped on second serves. Look for Khachanov to hit close to 70 percent of first serves if he wants a chance in this one.

Once the point gets going, Khachanov should find balance in a retrieving roll. Certainly, he will not beat Kyrgios playing on his heels. That said, a power battle from the baseline will not bode well for the Russian given the Aussies’ current form. Playing a variety of shots while making Kyrgios hit a few extra balls during each point is Karen Khachanov’s long-winded path to finding his way into the US Open semifinals.

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