‘Fully Charged’ Karen Khachanov Looks To Get Back On Track In Dubai - UBITENNIS
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‘Fully Charged’ Karen Khachanov Looks To Get Back On Track In Dubai

After winning only two matches in four tournaments played, the Russian No.1 is determined to regain his form.

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Karen Khachanov at the 2018 Paris Masters (photo by Gianni Ciaccia)

Karen Khachanov is hoping that this week’s Dubai Tennis Championships will be where he regains his momentum on the tour after a lacklustre start to 2019.

 

The world No.12 heads into the tournament after losing in the first round of events in Sofia and Rotterdam. On the ATP Tour this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 2-4. Winning back to back matches at one out four tournaments (Australian Open). Reflecting on his mixed start, Khachanov blamed illness and ‘other issues’ for his disappointing results.

“After Melbourne, the two tournaments [Sofia and Rotterdam] were not the best for me. But again, I didn’t feel so well,” Khachanov said on Sunday.
“Now, I’m full charged. I trained a week before and unfortunately, I couldn’t compete in Marseille as I wasn’t hundred per cent. I arrived here on Thursday and we have had a good training week. So let’s see how it goes here,” he added.

Khachanov claimed three ATP titles during his 2018 season. The most significant of those occurred at the Paris Masters where he defeated four top 10 players on route to the biggest title in his career. Scoring wins over both Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic. Bidding to add to his trophy collection, the Russian No.1 is targeting more consistency on the tour.

“I’m thinking about trying to get more consistency in my level this year. May be I had this sort of consistency mostly in the second part of last year,” he outlined.
“Sometimes you are practising well, but then the real feel you have when you play tournaments is different. During practice sometimes, I may not have had the best feeling but then you go on court, you compete well, you play differently. It’s tough to say. I think I’m feeling quite well right now.”

Whilst maintaining an upbeat perspective, the 22-year-old admits that his tennis is still a work in progress. Saying that his focus is solely on him and not his position in the rankings.

“But I like to focus more on myself and my game, not focus more on the points and the results. The results are always coming if you are playing well. It’s like that. Or sometimes, even when you are not playing well, you are winning. All this is connected,” he stated.

In his first match in Dubai, Khachanov will face a potentially tough test against world No.19 Nikoloz Basilashvili. The Georgian won two ATP titles last year, but is yet to score a win over a top 50 player in 2019.

Khachanov is seeded fourth in the draw this year.

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Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career

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Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.

 

Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week  after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.

Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.

Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.

Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.

“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.

 

Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.

 

“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.  

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David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati

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David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.

 

Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.

The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.

Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open  2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.

Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.

“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”

 

 

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Richard Gasquet reaches his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Miami 2013

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Frenchman Richard Gasquet edged past this year’s Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 12 minutes to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2013 Miami Open.

 

 Gasquet missed six months of action after undergoing groin surgery last January.

The French player set up a semfinal against David Goffin, who reached the semifinal after his Japanese opponent Yoshihito Nishioka withdrew from the match due to illness.

The first set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Bautista Agut hit a backhand wide at 1-2. Gasquet sealed the tie-break when Bautista Agut hit a forehand long.

Bautista Agut earned two breaks of serve in the second set and sealed it, when Gasquet made his third double fault on set point.

Gasquet broke serve with a volley in the third game of the decisive set. The French player went up a double break to race out to 4-1 lead. He saved two break points to hold his serve at deuce before serving out the third set on his first match point.

“I know how tough it was to come back. I know the moments I had at the start of the year, so I just wanted to enjoy, to fight. It is not easy to come back after six months out, but I am here. I am in semis tomorrow”,said Gasquet.

 

 

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