Karen Khachanov

Karen Khachanov Stuns Novak Djokovic to Win Paris Masters Title

70
0

PARIS (AP) — Karen Khachanov upset a tired-looking Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-4 to win the Paris Masters title and deprive Djokovic of the chance on Sunday, November 4, to match Rafael Nadal‘s record of 33 Masters titles.

Djokovic, a record four-time champion at the indoor event, looked out of energy after an epic three-hour semifinal win against Roger Federer on Saturday.

After also being taken to three sets by Marin Cilic in Friday’s quarterfinals, Djokovic’s semifinal finished at around 8 p.m. He felt he was unable to recover sufficiently from that draining encounter.

“I didn’t unfortunately. But I don’t want to talk about that,” he said. “I want to talk about how well (Khachanov) played all week and absolutely deserved to win today.”

Asked again whether it was also a case of emotional and mental fatigue, after such an intense tussle with Federer, Djokovic repeated his praise for Khachanov.

“Karen played really well and he deserved to win,” Djokovic said. “All the credit to him.”

Get the Mirror in your inbox:

Although Djokovic broke in the fourth game to move 3-1 up and then led 30-0 on serve, the unseeded Khachanov broke him straight back and the momentum abruptly shifted away from Djokovic.

“I made a couple of unforced errors and just played a bad game,” Djokovic said. “Unfortunately, I just didn’t have that little extra.”

Djokovic struggled to handle Khachanov’s brutal two-handed, cross-court backhands from the baseline, which often landed near his ankles, and dropped his serve again to trail 2-1 in the second set. He had to save three more break points in the seventh game to hold for 4-3 down.

“He was playing big from the back of the court, flat backhands and forehand. He can really hurt you,” Djokovic said. “His serve is really, really strong and precise.”

He secured victory on his first match point when Djokovic chopped a backhand return wide. The imposing Russian thrust both his arms in the air and, moments later, knelt down to kiss the court.

The 22-year-old Khachanov, ranked 18th, is the first Russian to win here since Nikolay Davydekno in 2006. Marat Safin won it three times before that.

Topics: Sports, Tennis

Khachanov added this title to the Kremlin Cup in Moscow last month for his third title of the year and fourth overall.

Karen Khachanov (ESPN photo)

He has won all of his four finals.

“We’re going to see a lot of him in the future,” Djokovic said.

According to Wikepdia, Khachanov started playing tennis aged 3. His father, Abgar, played volleyball at a very high level before studying medicine, while his mother, Natalia, also studied medicine.

After he turned 15 he moved to Split, Croatia, where he trained under Vedran Martic, Goran Ivanisevic‘s former coach. Later, he moved to Barcelona and was coached by Galo Blanco.

 

Get the Mirror-Spectator Weekly in your inbox: