Khachanov Wins Madrid Thriller, Sets Rublev Clash
Karen Khachanov reached the fourth round at the Mutua Madrid Open for the first time on Sunday when he clawed past Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in a Madrid thriller.
Competing in front of a packed crowd inside Manolo Santana Stadium, both took large cuts at the ball as they looked to impose their powerful games. After a tight first two sets, Khachanov hit a purple patch in the decider. He struck 20 winners in the third set compared to four from Bautista Agut and won three straight games from 3-3 to triumph in two hours and 53 minutes.
Khachanov, who is making his sixth appearance in Madrid, reached the semi-finals at the Australian Open in January before he advanced to the last four at the Miami Open presented by Itau in March. The 26-year-old is chasing his fifth tour-level crown and first since 2018 this fortnight in the Spanish capital.
With his 18th win of the season, Khachanov improved to 3-6 in his long-running ATP Head2Head series rivalry against Bautista Agut. Up one spot to No. 11 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, Khachanov will next meet fifth seed Andrey Rublev.
Rublev moved past Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-2, 7-5 to continue his red-hot clay-court form in Madrid.
The fifth seed hit with relentless power in the fast conditions, blasting 35 winners to improve to 2-2 in his ATP Head2Head series against Nishioka. Rublev now holds a 10-1 record on clay this season, having lifted his maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown in Monte-Carlo and advanced to the final in Banja Luka.
Rublev is rolling 🎾— Tennis Insights (@tennis_insights) April 30, 2023
More brilliant attacking and defending from @AndreyRublev97 today 👏#TennisInsights | @atptour | @MutuaMadridOpen pic.twitter.com/cA50mmkgNh
Rublev reached the quarter-finals in Madrid last season and will aim to match that when he takes on Khachanov in the fourth round. Rublev defeated long-time friend Khachanov en route to the title in Monte-Carlo, with the pair locked at 2-2 in their ATP Head2Head series.
In other action, Jaume Munar reached the fourth round at an ATP Masters 1000 for the first time, ending Italian qualifier Matteo Arnaldi’s run with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory.
The Spaniard fell to Arnaldi in Barcelona last week but gained his revenge in the Spanish capital to set a fourth-round meeting against Daniel Altmaier or German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann. Munar is up 19 spots to No. 69 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.