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Karen Khachanov beats Andrey Rublev to reach his first semi-final of the season.

Khachanov Wins NextGenATP Battle To Reach Halle SF

Khachanov faces Federer next

In an all #NextGenATP quarter-final clash at the Gerry Weber Open, Karen Khachanov came out on top on Friday as he edged good friend Andrey Rublev 7-6(8), 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and 16 minutes.

The 21-year-old Khachanov is currently third in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan, looking to qualify for the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan at the end of the year. The right-hander, who won his first ATP World Tour title in Chengdu in October 2016 (d. Ramos-Vinolas), is through to his first semi-final of the season, his first at the ATP 500 level, and will face Roger Federer.

Coming into this ATP World Tour 500 tournament on the back of a breakthrough run to the Roland Garros fourth round (l. to Murray), Khachanov had never played a main-draw grass-court match at any professional level (ATP World Tour, Challenger, Futures).

"Obviously, it gives me confidence here," said Khachanov. "After every match that you win it’s like you put extra confidence in the pocket. It’s always nice to win. I try to focus on the next match and of course I will be more confident than I was today."

Khachanov and Rublev both train at the 4 Slam Tennis Academy in Barcelona, with Khachanov coached by Galo Blanco and Rublev under the tutelage of Fernando Vicente. But friendship was put aside as the pair clashed for the first time on the ATP World Tour.

After twice failing to serve out the first set, Khachanov then saved set point at 6/7 in the tie-break before clinching the opener on his fifth opportunity. Rublev seized control early in the second set, with two breaks of serve levelling the match. The 19-year-old Rublev then looked to have the upperhand in the decider as he broke for a 2-1 lead, but Khachanov swept five of the next six games to complete the comeback.

"It’s not easy to play against each other," said Khachanov. "He played really well from his side and I started really well in the first set, serving and returning. I was overpowering him and then maybe I slowed down a little in some moments and then he was able to hit more. So, in the end, the one who was hitting first and controlling the middle was playing better, the other one was running. The one who was playing more aggressive at the beginning was winning more of the points."

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Richard Gasquet reached his second Halle semi-final as he defeated Robin Haase 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. The Frenchman, who made the last four here in 2013 (l. to Youzhny), is bidding to win his third grass-court crown this week and first since back-to-back Nottingham trophies in 2005-06. He will face either fourth seed Alexander Zverev or seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

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