The 'Sweet Problem' Khachanov Has In Miami
Daniil Medvedev joked about being a hard-court specialist at the BNP Paribas Open. His next opponent, longtime friend Karen Khachanov, has proven a tough foe at the biggest hard-court tournaments in the world over the past six months.
“When you go deep in this tournament, you don't have big time to prepare on clay unfortunately,” Khachanov said in response to a question about his clay-court preparation. “But it's at the same time fortunate because you are playing well here, so it's like a sweet problem to have, I would say.”
Khachanov has now made the semi-finals at three of the biggest tournaments in the world over the past six months: last year’s US Open, this year’s Australian Open and now the Miami Open presented by Itau.
The 14th seed lost a set in his opening match of the tournament against Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry, but he has not looked back. The 26-year-old has not dropped a set since, including wins against Australian Open quarter-finalist Jiri Lehecka, second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and 2022 Miami semi-finalist Francisco Cerundolo.
“The confidence and self-belief and all these things, they appear stronger,” Khachanov said. “Now I'm happy that I can show that level constantly and more consistently.”
All four of Khachanov's ATP Masters 1000 semi-finals, including this run in Miami, have come on hard courts. His lone title at the level came at the 2018 Rolex Paris Masters.
If Khachanov manages to claim his second crown at this level, it will also mark his first title of any kind since that triumph. Already up to No. 11 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, Khachanov will ascend to a career-high World No. 6 if he lifts the trophy.