Khachanov ready for Murray
Originally published on 04/06/17 00:00
The 21-year-has defeated seeded players, Tomas Berdych and John Isner, in the last two rounds and his fine form has improved his standing.
In reaching the last 16, the Russian is the youngest male to reach the fourth round since Marin Cilic in 2009. He is also bidding to become the first player since Rafael Nadal in 2005 to reach the quarter-finals of Roland Garros on his debut.
Khachanov, ranked No.53 in the world, won his maiden title in Chengdu last autumn. His results this year had been patchy, though, however he has burst into life in Paris.
The 6’6” Russian is a well-rounded performer. His serve is potent, his forehand packs a punch and his two-handed backhand is capable. The 21-year-old may not have the brute force of his idol Juan Martin Del Potro, but he does not lack firepower.
Khachanov will get his first opportunity today to test his skills against a top five player on Monday. He will take on world No.1, Andy Murray, in the second scheduled match on Philippe-Chatrier Court and he is looking forward to the challenge.
"I think it's going to be a good match and a good experience for me," said Khachanov. "I'm in the fourth round, and I will try to prepare and to do my best. I think that is what we are looking for, to play on the big arenas like here, centre court, and to play against the world No.1. I'm really looking forward to it."
Murray, who turned in his most impressive display of the year to defeat Del Potro in the third round, is well aware of his next opponent’s talent. "I practised with him before he got on to the tour when he was like [world No.] 350, and he was really good," said the Brit. "He’s a big, strong guy and he generates a lot of power. He's also got a big serve."
The other fourth round matches taking place are Stan Wawrinka against Gael Monfils, Kei Nishikori versus Fernando Verdasco and Kevin Anderson will challenge Marin Cilic.
Perhaps the most intriguing match of the day in the women’s draw is the all-French tie between Caroline Garcia and Alize Cornet.
Garcia’s decision to withdraw with an injury from a Fed Cup tie with Spain earlier this year was not well received by her teammates and the rift has not yet been healed. Despite the off-court issues, the 23-year-old has her eyes firmly on the prize.
"A lot of positive things have happened this week,” said Garcia. “I came to the French Open with a firm commitment. The commitment is to not worry too much about the others. Instead, I want to focus on myself and on my game. It feels great, but it's a long journey and it's not over yet.”
Elsewhere, Simona Halep will face Carla Suarez Navarro, Elina Svitolina will tackle Petra Martic and Karolina Pliskova will challenge Veronica Cepede Royg.