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Karen Khachanov breaks Cameron Norrie's serve three times to reach the second round in Toronto.

Khachanov Battles Past Norrie In Toronto

Russian to meet countryman Karatsev in second round

Karen Khachanov saved eight of the 10 break points he faced on Tuesday as he defeated Briton Cameron Norrie 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 to reach the second round of the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers.

In a matchup between two of the most in-form players on the ATP Tour it was the Russian, who recently won the singles silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, who came through the entertaining contest. 

“I knew that it would be a tough one because both of us right now are on the rise, playing good tennis, so I was expecting a difficult match,” Khachanov said, “It was a battle. I’m really pleased that I could deliver this result today.”

The previous meeting between Khachanov and Norrie was a much different story, with the Brit winning 6-1, 6-1 in Lyon earlier this year.

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Norrie, who recently won his first ATP Tour title at the Mifel Open in Los Cabos, suffered just his second first-round loss in 18 starts in 2021.

Khachanov has also been on top form in recent weeks, winning 10 of his past 12 matches, and he believes that he now has the right mentality to climb higher in the FedEx ATP Rankings.

“I want to keep going, keep having this momentum and try to improve and hopefully go higher,” Khachanov said, “I was in the Top 10 and this is where I want to go back to and I see myself in there. This is the goal right now. I am now more focusing on the things I need to do rather than the outcome. My goals are pretty big and hopefully I can achieve them.”

Khachanov took firm control of the match immediately, racing to a double-break lead in the opening set. Norrie’s level rose towards the end of the set, putting pressure on Khachanov, but he was ultimately unable to prevent Khachanov from taking a one-set advantage.

The second set was a tense affair, with neither player able to break serve until the final game, with Norrie taking it 7-5 on his fourth break point of the set.

In the deciding set it was the World No. 28 Khachanov who held his nerve, moving on to the second round where he will play fellow Russian Aslan Karatsev. Both Khachanov and Karatsev won medals in Tokyo, with Karatsev taking silver in mixed doubles.

“We know each other, we spent some time together lately,” Khachanov said of Karatsev, “Aslan has been on the rise since the beginning of the year. He’s showing great potential, great tennis. It will be a very tough opponent, tough match but I think I am well-prepared and in a good state of mind. Let’s see who takes home the win.”

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