December 19, 2019
Karen Khachanov overcame a spirited Hyeon Chung to win the second men’s quarter-final of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship at Abu Dhabi’s International Tennis Centre in Zayed Sports City on Thursday evening.
The 23-year-old Khachanov, ranked 17th in the world, won 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 to set up a mouthwatering semi-final clash against World No. 1 Rafael Nadal on Friday.
The towering Russian raced into 3-0 first set lead before Chung fought back to force a tiebreak. However, Khachanov held his nerve and rained down some gigantic serves to win the tie-break.
The second set went on serve until 2-2 when Khachanov produced a series of big forehand winners to break Chung’s serve in the fifth game, before wrapping up the match by holding serve at 5-4.
“The match was filled with intense rallies and some good service returns. It was played at a good level and I think the crowd really enjoyed it. I played a serious match, tried out some new things and it felt nice,” said Khachanov, who revealed he is undaunted by the prospect of facing the 19 Grand Slam-winning Spaniard for a place in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship final.
“It is always encouraging to play against Rafa because there is an unbelievable intensity about him. I admire his hard work so much and the intensity of the shots and movement. I like to play against him and we have had good matches, so I can’t wait for tomorrow. Off the court, he is a really nice guy and we speak a lot outside of the court, always joking.”