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Karen Khachanov on the cusp of cracking top 10 with run to Rolex Paris Masters final

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 4 Nov 2018
  • Khachanov was ranked No. 49 in January
  • The 22-year-old will finish 2018 at either No. 11 or No. 12
Karen Khachanov (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

After starting the year ranked No. 49 in the world, Karen Khachanov is set to finish 2018 at either No. 11 or No. 12 following his run to the Rolex Paris Masters final.

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This time last year, Khachanov was preparing to play the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan - the tournament reserved for the best eight young players of the season aged 21 and under. But fast forward 12 months and Khachanov was just a couple of spots away from qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals in London after an outstanding season that is culminating with a first ever Masters 1000 final appearance on Sunday in Paris.


It’s been a fantastic rise for Khachanov, who along with Alexander Zverev, Borna Coric, Kyle Edmund, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev, are among those players ranked inside the current top 20 aged 23 or younger. The 22-year-old had been hovering around the 30-70 mark in the rankings since breaking through to win his first ATP World Tour title in Chengdu in 2016, but Khachanov has taken his game to another level in 2018, securing two more ATP titles in Marseille and Moscow, reaching the Canada Masters semi-finals (where he earned his first top 10 win of the year over John Isner) and reaching the fourth rounds of Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

Karen Khachanov (Photo by CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images)
However, the explosive Russian has arguably put together the best week of his career in Paris, defeating three top players on his run to the final, including Isner once more, Zverev and Dominic Thiem, crushing the Austrian 6-4 6-1 in Saturday’s semi-finals.

"What I’m happy about is that each match I think I was increasing the level. That shows that I’m improving in my consistency, I’m becoming a better player, playing from the beginning of the tournament better and better, so that’s a good thing," Khachanov said. "In this match I think it was really intense the first couple of games and then at 4-4 when it more pressure was coming, I could break him, and then I took the lead."

Khachanov has now won 10 of his last 11 matches after winning the Kremlin Cup in front of his home fans in Moscow last month. Before this year, Khachanov had only won two matches at Masters 1000 level, but now he’s won 15 times at Masters Series events, while he’s also earned four top 10 scalps since August - with three of them coming this week.



Set to shoot up to No. 12 with a bullet regardless of Sunday’s final showdown against Novak Djokovic, Khachanov has positioned himself strongly to make a push towards the top 10 in the first quarter of 2019.

"I think especially the second part of the year I’m playing really my best tennis. I’m having the best season, so far," Khachanov said. "I’m confident and I’m in the final, so I’m really happy about it."

Khachanov will attempt to win the biggest title of his young career on Sunday when he squares off against Djokovic for the second time this season, with their first meeting coming at Wimbledon when the Serbian prevailed in routine straight sets fashion.

Facing Djokovic is the biggest challenge in tennis at the moment, with the 14-time major champion currently riding a 22-match winning streak that has yielded titles in Cincinnati, the U.S. Open and Shanghai, while he also won Wimbledon in July.

But Khachanov is confident and playing the best tennis of his career this week as he attempts to cap a dream week by beating the World No. 1 in-waiting to secure a maiden Masters 1000 crown.

"Let’s see," Khachanov said. "I’m enjoying being on court here in Paris. It’s really nice, a lot of people come and support you, so any scenario is good for me."


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Karen Khachanov on the cusp of cracking top 10 with run to Rolex Paris Masters final

After starting the year ranked No. 49 in the world, Karen Khachanov is set to finish 2018 at either No. 11 or No. 12 following his run to the Rolex Paris Masters final.

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