ATP Moscow: Karen Khachanov survives five MP's. Mannarino and Lajovic win


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ATP Moscow: Karen Khachanov survives five MP's. Mannarino and Lajovic win

World no. 8 and the defending champion Karen Khachanov is through to the quarter-final in Moscow after a hard-fought 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber. The encounter lasted for two hours and 23 minutes and the Russian had to save five match points to prevail and avoid another early exit, earning only the 27th victory in 2019.

It was their fifth clash and the second win for the Russian who claimed three points less than his rival, fending off six out of eight break chances and earning two breaks from four opportunities created. The struggling German was the better player in the opening set, dropping seven points in five service games and collecting a break at love in game six after a forehand mistake from Karen, sealing the opener after another error from the Russian in game nine for a 6-3.

Khachanov fended off a couple of break points at the beginning of the second set, landing a backhand down the line winner in the fourth game to forge the lead and defending more break opportunities in the next game to cement the advantage and clinching the set with a hold at 5-3 when Philipp sent a drive-volley wide.

The more experienced player drew first blood in the final set with a break in game eight, wasting two match points on serve in the next game to keep the Russian alive. Karen fended off another match point at 5-6 with a service winner, setting up a tie break where he opened a 5-2 lead.

Out of sudden, Kohlschreiber grabbed four straight points to move 6-5 ahead, with Khachanov repelling the fourth match point with a forehand winner, erasing the fifth at 6-7 as well and taking three consecutive points for a great escape after a double fault from Philipp in the 16th point.

The 7th seed Adrian Mannarino ousted Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6, 6-2 in an hour and 53 minutes, getting broken twice and delivering four successful return games to prevail in straight sets. They traded early breaks and it was the Frenchman who had the opportunity to close the set before the tie break, wasting three set points at 5-4 and getting broken in the very next game.

Kukushkin failed to serve out for the set, losing serve at 15 and falling 7-4 in the tie break after three mini-breaks he suffered. Carried by this momentum, Mannarino dropped only four points on serve in the second set and earned two breaks to move over the top and stay on the title course.

The 4th seed Dusan Lajovic took down a qualifier Lukas Rosol 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 in an hour and 52 minutes, beating the Czech for the first time. Serving at 74%, the Serb faced only two break points, failing to finish the job in straight sets before starting all over in the decider where he waited for a chance on the return patiently.

The Serb broke in the first game and served well to clinch the opener 6-4, opening a 5-3 advantage in set number two but not being able to bring the clash home after getting broken at love at 5-4. Rosol saved a match point in the tie break and won it 8-6, surviving until the deciding set where Dusan rattled off 12 of the last 13 points at 3-3 to seal the deal and move into the quarters.

Andreas Seppi needed two hours and 12 minutes to dismiss Roberto Carballes Baena 5-7 6-1, 6-3, losing only 16 points on serve in the last two sets and controlling the pace in both to overcome a slow start and advance into the next round.

A qualifier Egor Gerasimov defeated Thomas Fabbiano 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 18 minutes, giving away only 12 points behind the initial shot and securing three breaks to move over the top and celebrate the tenth ATP victory of the season.

In the clash of the young Russian who made an ATP debut in front of the home crowd, Alen Avidzba toppled Alibek Kachmazov 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 in an hour and 48 minutes, taking half of the return points to grab six breaks and impose his shots in sets he won to deliver the first ATP win at the age of 19.