© VTB Kremlin Cup

Karen Khachanov saves five match points to defeat Philipp Kohlschreiber at the VTB Kremlin Cup on Wednesday.

Khachanov Saves 5 M.P., Overcomes Kohlschreiber In Moscow

Lajovic, Mannarino also through to quarter-finals

Karen Khachanov saved five match points to deny Philipp Kohlschreiber a birthday win at the VTB Kremlin Cup on Wednesday.

”I can’t remember the last time I had a comeback like that,” said Khachanov. “I had to fight and try to find my game. I am really happy that finally I can go through here in my hometown of Moscow.”

The top seed and defending champion recovered from 3-5 down in the deciding set to record a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(7) victory in front of a passionate home crowd in Moscow. This is Khachanov’s second win in five FedEx ATP Head2Head encounters against 36-year-old Kohlschreiber.

”In my hometown, it is really a great atmosphere,” said Khachanov. “To see so many people here for my second-round match, I didn’t really expect that… I have more drive and more energy when people are cheering for me like that.”

After saving three match points to reach the deciding-set tie-break, Khachanov was forced to save two more at 5/6 and 6/7 with patience from the baseline. The Russian advanced to the quarter-finals on his first match point as Kohlschreiber committed his third double fault of the match.

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Khachanov extends his winning streak in Moscow to five matches. At last year’s event, the World No. 8 dropped only one set en route to the title.

Khachanov will face Andreas Seppi for a place in the semi-finals. The 23-year-old defeated the Italian in their only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter at the 2016 Erste Bank Open in Vienna.

After saving two match points in his opening match, Seppi was forced to come from a set down to beat Roberto Carballes Baena 5-7, 6-1, 6-3. The 35-year-old Italian earned 72 per cent of second-serve return points (31/43) to advance after two hours and 12 minutes.

Fourth seed Dusan Lajovic recorded his first victory in three FedEx ATP Head2Head encounters against Lukas Rosol, edging the Czech 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3 to reach his first quarter-final in Moscow. The Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters runner-up landed eight aces and broke serve on three occasions to secure the one-hour, 52-minute win.

Lajovic will meet last year’s runner-up Adrian Mannarino for a semi-final spot. The seventh-seeded Frenchman beat 2013 runner-up Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6(4), 6-2 to confirm his place in the last eight.

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