Karen Khachanov reached the quarter-finals at the US Open for the first time Sunday,
outlasting Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 to continue his strong run in New York.
In a heavy-hitting clash in front of energised fans on Louis Armstrong Stadium, the 26-year-old appeared the fresher of the two in the deciding set, triumphing in three hours, 20 minutes.
“With Pablo, we always have unbelievably tough matches,” Khachanov said in his on-court interview. “I was preparing physically to be ready for the whole match to play my best. From the first match (Monday), I started to feel better and better, more confident of course.”
After Carreno Busta controlled the first set from the baseline, commiting just six unforced
errors, Khachanov found consistency from his backhand to capture the following two sets. When the Spaniard leveled the match to force a deciding set, Khachanov served well and focussed on playing defense from well beyond the baseline, finishing the match with 32 unforced errors to Carreno Busta’s 43.
Khachanov, who is making his seventh appearance at Flushing Meadows, has now advanced
to the last eight at three of the four Grand Slams. The four-time tour-level titlist reached the
quarter-finals at Roland Garros in 2019 and Wimbledon in 2021.
“To be honest, I had in 2018 a really great match against Rafa (in New York) and good memories. But then after that, not so good performances in New York, so I was a little bit nervous this year because I wanted to do well and I feel like I’m playing good tennis,” Khachanov said.
The 27th seed has now won his past four meetings against the Montreal champion Carreno
Busta, holding a 6-3 ATP Head2Head series record overall.
“The previous three matches against Pablo, I won, that gave me confidence from the beginning. I think now Pablo is playing some of his best tennis, he won Masters in Montreal. It’s a tough battle… I’m really happy to win,” Khachanov said.
Khachanov rises to No. 22 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings and will next play top seed Daniil Medvedev or Australian Nick Kyrgios.
“I prefer now just watch relax and watch (Medvedev-Kyrgios) in the locker room. Whoever wins, I cannot choose, both of them are great players,” Khachanov said.
Khachanov, who improves to 30-20 in 2022, would break within the Top 20 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time since February 2021 with a quarter-final victory. He reached his career-high mark No. 8 in July 2019.