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Karen Khachanov, the No. 11 seed, saves seven of nine break points on Tuesday against Roberto Bautista Agut in Rome

Khachanov Earns Confidence-Boosting Rome Win

Basilashvili, Fritz, Chardy move into second round

Karen Khachanov earned a confidence-boosting win against the ever-consistent Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut on Thursday at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.

The 22-year-old knuckled down to recover from a set and 3-4 deficit to win 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in two hours and 29 minutes. By breaking a three-match losing streak against Bautista Agut, Khachanov will next play on Thursday against fifth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem or Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, whom he lost to at last week’s Mutua Madrid Open.

Khachanov wrestled control away from Bautista Agut by breaking in the ninth game of the second set, then powered through the decider for his ninth match win of 2019. Since winning his first ATP Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Paris Masters in November 2018, he has won consecutive matches on two previous occasions: the Australian Open, where he reached the third round (l. to Bautista Agut) and at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, where the Russian advanced to the quarter-finals (l. to Nadal). 

Borna Coric, the No. 13 seed, rebounded from a loss in his Madrid opener as he dismissed British qualifier Cameron Norrie 6-2, 6-2 for his first main draw win in Rome. Coric, who reached back-to-back Masters 1000 quarter-finals earlier this year in Miami (l. to Auger-Aliassime) and Monte-Carlo (l. to Fognini), will next face the winner between No. 3 seed Roger Federer and Portugal's Joao Sousa

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Elsewhere on day three at the Foro Italico in Rome, No. 14 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili defeated Rio Open presented by Claro champion Laslo Djere 7-5, 6-4. Djere had won their previous two FedEx Head2Head meetings, including their quarter-final match last month at the Hungarian Open.

In first-round action, American qualifier Taylor Fritz set up a clash with sixth-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori after a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Guido Pella of Argentina.

Jeremy Chardy completed his one-set shootout against fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet, which had been carried over from Monday night at one-set apiece. Chardy triumphed 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 and now challenges second seed and eight-time champion Rafael Nadal on Wednesday.

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