Karen Khachanov came through a battle of power hitters on Tuesday at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, beating eighth seed and 2015 titlist Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5 in one hour and 32 minutes.
Khachanov backed up his powerful groundstrokes by rushing the net (winning 10 of 11 points) to take time away from Wawrinka, who committed 30 unforced errors in their fourth ATP Head2Head meeting (now tied at 2-2).
“To play against Stan, especially in the first round, is always tough,” said Khachanov. “I am really happy with the win, but there are always things you can improve upon. Mentally, I feel ready and I’m in good shape, so I hope to get some match wins.”
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In an tricky first-round encounter, Khachanov, who sits just one place behind Wawrinka at No. 21 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, broke serve in the third game of the 42-minute first set. Wawrinka hit a forehand wide at 5-5 in the second set, and Khachanov closed out with a deep forehand.
Khachanov, 24, now plays Briton Cameron Norrie for the first time in the Rotterdam second round. Last month, the Russian reached the Murray River Open semi-finals (l. to Sinner).
Later on day two, Jeremy Chardy saved two match points in a 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4) win over fellow Frenchman Ugo Humbert over two hours and 47 minutes. Chardy recovered from 1-4 down in the deciding set and saved match points on serve at 4-5, 15/40. He will next play sixth-seeded Belgian David Goffin or Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany.