Competing at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship for the second year in a row, coevals Karen Khachanov and Hyeon Chung battled in the quarter-final at the International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi. The Russian scored a 7-6, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 36 minutes, moving into the semi-final where he will face world no.
1 Rafael Nadal on Friday. Neither player enjoyed the best results in 2019 but Karen managed to stay in the top-20 while Hyeon still seeks his best game after many setbacks with injuries, hoping to return into the top-20 next year and play injury-free.
Karen had the upper hand all the time, performing well in the pivotal moments to seal the deal in straight sets and move into the next round. The Russian won 12 of the first 15 points for the perfect start, securing a break at 15 in the second game and moving 3-0 in front with a beautiful volley winner in the third game.
Chung started to serve better after that, keeping himself within one break deficit and breaking back at love in game nine to reduce the deficit and prolong the first part of the match. Both players held at love in games 11 and 12 to set up a tie break that Khachanov claimed 7-4 after delivering two mini-breaks at 5-4.
The Korean had to dig deep at the beginning of the second set, repelling four break chances in games one and three before netting a backhand at 2-2 to give Karen a break at love and a massive boost ahead of the remaining games.
Serving for the victory, Khachanov landed a backhand crosscourt winner to fend off a break point, sealing the deal with a smash winner and setting the clash against world no. 1 Rafael Nadal.