MELBOURNE: Karen Khachanov cruised into the quarter-finals of the ongoing Australian Open on Sunday with a scintillating performance against Yoshihito Nishioka here at John Cain Arena. The 18th-seed Russian defeated the Japanese player 6-0, 6-0, 7-6(4) to reach the last eight at the year's first major for the first time.
The opening 14 games of the match were won by the four-time ATP Tour champion. In the second set, Khachanov took a commanding lead by winning 24 of the 26 points that were played. Nishioka couldn't help but shake his head. The 27-year-old is renowned for his tenacity and pace, consistently finding new ways to add extra balls to the play and irk his rivals. In contrast, Nishioka made 23 unforced errors in the first two sets compared to just three winners.
"First two sets I didn't know what was going on, but it's never easy when you are going with the score too easy. You feel it. Then at one point Yoshi tried to turn it around, he pumped the crowd and it's normal. I tried to stay focussed all the match from the beginning until the end. But it's not easy to win with this score, three sets, so the third set it was a really tough one and I'm playing well, so I'm really happy to go through," ATP.com quoted Khachanov as saying. Later in the day, Sebastian Korda claimed the biggest victory of his career when he overpowered 10th-seeded Hubert Hurkacz in five gripping sets to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals.
The 29th seed rolled into the last eight at a Grand Slam for the first time with a back-and-forth 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(10-7) victory against the Polish star Hurkacz. Korda will play Karen Khachanov for a place in the semi-finals. "Awesome. I couldn't have done it without you guys. You guys pushed me through. I wasn't feeling too much energy towards the fourth and the fifth, but you guys really picked me up and without you guys I don't think it would have been possible today, so thank you!" ATP.com quoted Korda as saying.
"It was difficult but I'm very happy with the way I kind of just stayed down, kept going through it," he said.