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Monday, January 30, 2023

Australian Open 2023:


Khachanov, former US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, who was routed by Djokovic in a quarter-final on Wednesday, have lived up to this billing to an extent.

But the sustained excellence of legends Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and the now-retired Roger Federer have stymied their efforts to dominate the top end of the sport.

Khachanov, who blunted the effectiveness of Kyrgios’ serve with his range and clever positioning on return, is surging back towards the top 10 after a lull he said was due to “personal reasons”.

“Not everything was going as smoothly, but, you know, look, I always believed in myself and my abilities, and what I need to do in order to be at my best,” he said.

“I think with my team, we are on the right direction and the right move. I think this kind of competition, in a positive way between [Medvedev and Rublev] helps us to get better.”

Karen Khachanov, right, after eliminating Nick Kyrgios from last year’s US Open.

Karen Khachanov, right, after eliminating Nick Kyrgios from last year’s US Open.Credit:AP

Should Khachanov manage to upset Tsitsipas, he will move above Medvedev in the rankings and return to the top 10.

That is a challenge, for the Greek favourite has won all of their five outings to date.

Khachanov, who has Armenian heritage, was criticised by the Azerbaijan Tennis Federation this week for his support of the Republic of Artsakh following his Australian Open wins this week.

Political stances aside, he is focused on producing his best against Tsitsipas after disappointing against Casper Ruud in the semi-final in New York four months ago.

“This time is different because I think I’m physically … feeling really good so far, and I didn’t have such long matches yet,” he said.

Watch the Australian Open, live on Channel Nine, 9Gem and 9Now.

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