Rome was without our men! Khachanov let Tsitsipas create a comeback
Russia will not be represented in the quarterfinals of the prestigious Italian “Masters”. Karen Khachanov was the last one to cuff his racquet.
In the third round of the tournament in Rome the Russian tennis player Karen Khachanov lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas and allowed the Greek player to create a comeback. Thus, no Russian men left in the Italian capital.
Three Russians started at the prestigious Rome Masters, which is the final tournament for the majority of top players, a kind of dress rehearsal before Roland Garros. Aslan Karatsev handled South Africa’s Lloyd George Harris before losing to world number one Novak Djokovic. No. 6 seeded Andrei Rublev started the tournament as the high seeded player from the second round and immediately sensationally lost to Serb Filip Krajinovic. Only Karen Khachanov made it to the third round.
Khachanov was defeated at the start of the Masters in Monte Carlo, then reached the semifinals of the ATP250 tournament in Belgrade, where he lost to HEAD world number one Novak Djokovic. In Madrid, Karen also bowed out in the opening round. In Rome, on the other hand, he started quite vigorously. In the first round he overcame a 20-year old qualifier from Italy Giulio Zeppieri, and then overcame a bronze medalist of the Tokyo Olympics Pablo Carreño-Busta in three sets. Merited coach of Russia, Viktor Yanchuk commented on the victory of Khachanov over the Spaniard in his interview for “The Championship. Generally, in terms of his level, class and skills Karen corresponds to the second group of stars. He’s very close to them. He’s always a little bit lacking, which distinguishes the big masters from the young ones. He digs himself, he lacks confidence. It happens for him that he gives up at some point. There were enough games when it seemed like he could win, but then he made some unfortunate mistakes and lost the edge. This win is one of those that gives you confidence in your own abilities.
Khachanov’s opponent in the third round was Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. The tennis players have known each other for a long time and they met four times at the professional level. In all cases, Tsitsipas took the lead, in Shanghai 2017 and 2018, Rotterdam and Toronto 2021. Note that Karen and Stefanos have not yet played each other on the ground before. FTR President Shamil Tarpischev assessed Karen Khachanov’s capabilities during the primetime season, including at Roland Garros: “It’s nice that Karen is gaining form on the primetime, because a number of tournaments were unsuccessful. On the eve of Roland Garros it’s encouraging. Playing problems still remain. We need to wait for the draw at Roland Garros and then we’ll say something about his progress in the main draw. As for Khachanov’s opponent in the next round, Tsitsipas plays a more diverse game and he’s very dangerous from that point of view. We’ll see what happens.
It should be noted that Stefanos Tsitsipas is considered one of the strongest tennis players on the ground. Last year he reached the final of Roland Garros, and this season he defended his title at the Monte Carlo Masters, becoming a two-time champion. In Barcelona Stefanos lost in the quarterfinals to future champion Carlos Alcaraz, and in Madrid he lost in the semifinals to Alexander Zverev.
The Russian got into the game quicker and took a 2-0 lead right away. Tsitsipas was gradually improving his game, first of all on serve, but then he began to attack and create problems for Khachanov on reception. In the fourth game the Greek player could not score a break point, but he soon evened the score 3-3. The key game was the ninth persistent game, in which Karen clung and overpowered his opponent, after which he clearly served for the set – 6:4 in 45 minutes. At the beginning of the second game Khachanov nearly broke again, but Stefanos withstood and immediately broke his serve – 2:0. From that moment on the Greek player was in full control and after 33 minutes he gave his opponent an offensive barrage – 6:0. The situation was not much better for Karen in the third set. Tsitsipas collected one point after another, brought his winning streak to nine games and started the third game 3-0. Karen was able to break his serve and win three games, but Tsitsipas was able to power through a heartbreaking 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 comeback.
Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Karen Khachanov for the fifth time in five games and made his seventh consecutive quarterfinal on the courts since Rome 2021. The Greek will now play against the winner of Krajinovic-Sinner. As for Rome-2022, our men are out of the picture from now on.