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Khachanov claws past Medvedev in Monte-Carlo


Karen Khachanov advanced to the quarter-finals at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters for the first time on Thursday when he moved past World No. 4 Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 7-5 to earn his fourth Top 5 win.

In a competitive and physical clash, little separated the pair during the gruelling baseline exchanges. Both struck the ball with pace and depth, but it was Khachanov who found his best level in the crucial moments to advance after one hour and 53 minutes.

“I lost a couple of tight matches to him on hard courts. On clay I have not got a title yet but I have good results on clay. Roland Garros two-time quarter-finals. Always winning matches but not winning the tournament. In a way I think overall my results on clay are better than his maybe and mentally he said many times he does not like to play on it,” Khachanov said.

“That gives me extra confidence and maybe on clay the game is a little bit different. I mean it is different and that is the way I tried to approach today. I tried to spin more and move him outside the line. A few differences between hard courts and clay courts.”

The 15th seed earned the decisive break of the first set in a mammoth eighth game, before he struck 11 winners and committed just three unforced errors in the second set to improve to 2-5 in the pair’s Lexus ATP Head2Head series.

Khachanov has now advanced to eight ATP Masters 1000 quarter-finals, with his victory against Medvedev his first Top 5 win this season. He has advanced to the last eight at six of the nine Masters 1000 events.

“First thing is to be consistent. I think lately my results have been better and better,” Khachanov said on his fourth Top 5 win. “Then to think how to beat the top guys and be at the top. These are the things that we have to keep in mind and keep working on. The win today gives extra confidence in my pocket to continue this tournament and to step into the clay swing.”

The 27-year-old, who won a title in Doha earlier this season, will next play two-time Monte-Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas or German Alexander Zverev.

Medvedev captured his maiden clay-court tour-level title in Rome last season. The fourth seed leaves the Principality holding a 19-5 record on the year, with his best result a final run at the Australian Open.

In other early Thursday action, Holger Rune and Grigor Dimitrov both advanced to the third round after rain had halted their respective matches on Wednesday night.

The Dane Rune resumed against India’s Sumit Nagal with a 6-3, 2-1 lead. He eventually advanced, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 to improve to 14-7 on the season. The 20-year-old has fond memories in Monte-Carlo, having advanced to the title match last year.

Dimitrov led Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4, 2-1 before rain halted play on Wednesday. He came out quickly on Thursday morning to triumph 6-4, 6-3. He will meet Rune in the third round later on Thursday.

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