10 Things To Know About Karen Khachanov
Karen Khachanov made the biggest statement of his young career on Sunday, claiming his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown at the Rolex Paris Masters. The 22-year-old stunned World No. 2 and four-time champion Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-4 for the title. It was the first Masters 1000 crown for a Russian since Nikolay Davydenko in 2009 (Shanghai).
Here are 10 things to know about Karen...
(1) Flawless In Paris
Entering the week in Paris, Khachanov had just three Top 10 wins in his young career. He would match that and then some. The Russian reeled off four in a row, dropping one combined set in toppling World No. 9 John Isner, No. 5 Alexander Zverev, No. 8 Dominic Thiem and No. 2 Djokovic. He also claimed straight-set wins over 2017 finalist Filip Krajinovic and Matthew Ebden.
(2) Undefeated In ATP World Tour Finals
Khachanov improved to an unblemished 4-0 in tour-level title matches with his victory in the French capital. His maiden crown came two years ago in Chengdu and he would add a trio of titles in 2018, prevailing on the indoor hard courts of Marseille, Moscow and Paris.
(3) Made In Moscow
His childhood dream became a reality last month. The Moscow native triumphed in his hometown, kicking off an 11-1 run to conclude his 2018 campaign. In front of friends and family, he raised the trophy with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Adrian Mannarino. But it wasn't the first time Khachanov had tasted success at the VTB Kremlin Cup. As a 17-year-old, he stunned third seed Janko Tipsarevic to reach the 2013 quarter-finals. At No. 808 in the ATP Rankings, it was just his second pro tournament at any level.
(4) On Precipice Of The Top 10
Entering Paris at No. 18 in the ATP Rankings, he became the lowest-ranked Masters 1000 champ since Ivan Ljubicic in 2010 (Indian Wells). After adding 1,000 points to his haul, he rises to a career-high No. 11 on Monday. The Top 10 beckons in 2019.
(5) Had Rafa On The Ropes In New York
If you weren't familiar with Khachanov entering the latter stages of the season, you certainly are now. After reaching the semi-finals at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, he gave Rafael Nadal all he could handle in the third round of the US Open. The 22-year-old led by a set and a break and forced Nadal to play some of his best tennis to prevail 5-7, 7-5, 7-6(7), 7-6(3) in more than four hours.
(6) Former #NextGenATP Star
Khachanov turned 22 on 21 May, making him ineligible for the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. But the Russian featured in the inaugural event last year, going 1-2 in group play, including a straight-set win over Jared Donaldson.
(7) Following In His Idol's Footsteps
Since first picking up a racquet at the age of three, Khachanov idolised countryman Marat Safin. At 6'6", with a thunderous serve and forehand, it's easy to see why. On Sunday, he followed in the former World No. 1's footsteps, becoming the third Russian to triumph in Paris. Safin won the tournament on three occasions - 2000, 2002 and 2004.
(8) Back With Childhood Coach
At the age of 15, Khachanov began training with Croatia's Vedran Martin, former coach of Goran Ivanisevic. After parting ways in 2014, the duo rejoined forces for the 2018 season. The move has paid dividends, with Khachanov rising from No. 48 to No. 11 in the ATP Rankings.
(9) Karen The Intellectual
It's no surprise Khachanov has the mental fortitude to succeed on the ATP World Tour. In his free time, he enjoys testing his mind by playing chess and reading classic Roman novels. He's also studying long-distance for a degree in physical education at the University of Moscow.
"Education is always important and after I finished high school, I tried to be in the university as much as I can. Now, I study online. And I like to play chess. It's one of my favourite hobbies. I also like to read classic Roman novels."
(10) Integral Part Of Russian Renaissance
Russian tennis is in good hands. It is the only nation with multiple players aged 22 & under in the Top 40 of the ATP Rankings. Khachanov is joined by close friend Daniil Medvedev, who was also a three-time titlist this year. And with 21-year-old Andrey Rublev, who is making his second straight appearance at the Next Gen ATP Finals, the trio is one to watch for years to come.