First-Class Tsitsipas 'Upgrades' To Stop Khachanov
Stefanos Tsitsipas recovered from a slow start Thursday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia as he raised his level and intensity to overcome Karen Khachanov 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 and reach the quarter-finals in Rome.
After losing the first set, the Greek won nine consecutive games as he turned the match around on Grand Stand Arena by finding more first serves and hitting his groundstrokes with greater consistency.
“It was a great, great match. I really upgraded my game in the second set,” Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview. “I was really able to follow through after every shot. I loosened up a little bit and concentrated on depth a little bit more.
“I hit great serves towards the end of the third set. I was able to stay calm on each serve and I was not rushing. I tried to visualise my patterns and it was a great last game.”
The fourth seed, who saved two match points against Grigor Dimitrov in his opening match, made just 52 per cent of his first serves in the opening set. However, he improved to 70 per cent in the second set and then 100 per cent in the decider, allowing him to dictate rallies and advance after one hour and 51 minutes.
“It hasn’t been easy the past two matches, but as long as I find my way, that is what matters the most,” Tsitsipas added.
With victory, Tsitsipas has improved his perfect ATP Head2Head series record against Khachanov to 5-0. The Greek has now climbed above Rafael Nadal to No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings and will next play Italian Jannik Sinner in what will be his third quarter-final appearance in the Italian capital.
The 23-year-old is aiming to win his second title of the season in Rome, after he retained his trophy in Monte Carlo. Tsitsipas holds an 11-2 record in clay in 2022, having reached the semi-finals in Madrid last week.
Khachanov was seeking his maiden Top 10 win and first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final since he advanced to the last eight in Montreal in 2019.
Did You Know?
Tsitsipas has earned a tour-leading 29 victories this season, one more than second-placed Carlos Alcaraz (28).