Karen Khachanov, a first-time Olympian, defeated Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain in the men’s singles semifinals in straight sets, setting up a championship match against either Novak Djokovic or Alexander Zverev.
The No. 12 seed was the picture of composure as he defeated the Spaniard 6-3, 6-3 under stormy skies on another humid afternoon at Ariake Tennis Park, guaranteeing ROC’s second tennis medals of these Games.
The nation is already assured of at least one spot on the mixed doubles podium and is still in the hunt for a bronze medal in the women’s doubles competition.
K. Khachanov Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
One of Khachanov’s aspirations came realised when he won today: “It was extremely crucial to win today because at least you know for sure that you’re assured a medal.” But it’s clear that you have to find inspiration and fervour, and I’ll do what I can to get ready for the final and give it my all to win the gold.
Khachanov was practically unbreakable on serve in the first set, winning a game in under 80 seconds and without allowing Carreno Busta a single break point despite a massive thunderclap occurring at one point in his opening service game.
On the other hand, the Spaniard was under constant pressure and forced to engage in exhausting rallies behind his punches from the very beginning. Khachanov broke for a 3-2 lead and then secured the set with a second break thanks to some big forehand returns that Carreno Busta couldn’t handle. Khachanov hit deep and with venom, and he matched the No. 6 seed’s court coverage ball for ball.
In the beginning of the second set, the sun came out and the Spaniard was having his finest stretch of the match. This performance of tenacity and desire to stop Khachanov’s momentum was so impressive against No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev on Thursday that he advanced to the semi-finals.
At 2-2, he had break point, but the ROC right-hander quickly converted it with a drop shot and ace to hold.
That point in time proved to be crucial. Khachanov, inspired by his comeback, won the first game of the second set with a forehand winner and went on to win the match in straight games, claiming the gold medal with a nerveless forehand winner after an hour and nineteen minutes.
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