For the second time in his career, Karen Khachanov rallied from two sets down on Tuesday to book his place in the US Open second round.
The 11th seed failed to break serve in the opening two sets, before charging back to overcome Jannik Sinner 3-6, 6-7(7), 6-2, 6-0, 7-6(4). From 1-1 in the third set, Khachanov won 11 of the next 12 games to level the match as Sinner struggled with his movement. The Russian failed to convert five break points in the decider, but held his nerve in a final-set tie-break to clinch victory after three hours and 44 minutes.
Khachanov’s only previous comeback from two sets down came in 2018, when he defeated Frances Tiafoe to reach the Round of 16 at Wimbledon. Khachanov improves to 3-1 since the resumption of the ATP Tour, following a third-round loss to Roberto Bautista Agut at the Western & Southern Open last week.
Khachanov will face countryman Andrey Kuznetsov for a place in the third round. The former World No. 39, who has not competed at tour-level since 2017 due to a lifelong hip injury, defeated Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-6(6), 6-2 to become the first unranked player to win a Grand Slam match since Nicolas Kiefer at 2007 Wimbledon.
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Sinner played well under pressure in the opening two sets on Court 8, saving five break points in the opener and two set points in the second set to establish a commading lead. But Khachanov quickly found a route back into the match as Sinner committed a double fault and netted a short forehand to concede an early service break in the third set. Khachanov claimed a double break at 4-2, as Sinner began to struggle with his movement, and quickly held serve to love with an ace to clinch the third set.
Khachanov struck 14 winners and converted three of five break points to sweep the fourth set 6-0. While Sinner found success in the decider, flattening his groundstrokes to shorten rallies and save five break points, it was Khachanov who moved through to the second round. The 24-year-old proved too consistent in the final-set tie-break, retrieving balls from behind the baseline as Sinner made multiple errors.
Photo Credit: Rhea Nall/USTA
The first seeded opponent Khachanov could play is 21st seed Alex de Minaur, who defeated Andrej Martin 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 in two hours and 11 minutes.
The Aussie was broken when he served for the match in the third set. But the two-time Next Gen ATP Finals competitor did not panic, advancing in straight sets. De Minaur converted six of his eight break points to reach the second round of the US Open for the third consecutive year.
The 21-year-old will next play Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who ousted 41-year-old Ivo Karlovic 7-6(0), 7-6(4), 6-1 after one hour and 53 minutes. De Minaur has never faced the former World No. 7.