Thriller in Paris as Khachanov maintains supremacy over Isner

Karen Khachanov. PHOTO: Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

Russia’s Karen Khachanov defeated American John Isner, 6/4; 6/7(9); 7/6(8) in a thrilling battle of serves that lasted two hours and 28 minutes. Their match on Court 1 eclipsed other contests of the day, including Djokovic’s victory over Damir Dzumhur, who retired at 6/1; 2/1; Alexander Zverev’s 6/4; 6/2 defeat of Diego Schwartzman; and Marin Cilic victory over Grigor Dimitrov 7/6 (5); 6/4.

In their third career meeting, Khachanov and Isner repeated the war of serves that had featured in their preceding two matches. Games were won quickly on serve with few rallies.

The Russian, ranked 18, won the first set on a single break of Isner’s serve. In the second set, Isner survived a match point and the games tallied six-all. Isner won the ensuing tiebreak by 11 points to nine.

Khachanov opened serving in the final set and held. Each player held his service game easily and there were no break points. Serving at 4-5, Isner was taken to 30-all but won the longest rally of the match to reach game point, which he clinched with his 18th ace. Khachanov won the 11th game at love while Isner responded in equal fashion to level six games apiece.

In the tiebreak, Khachanov served first and held but Isner dropped his first point for a mini-break. However, Isner hammered his 19th ace to level three-all at the mandatory six-point changeover and had a match point at 6-5. The Russian took his first service point to cancel the threat of defeat and followed to reach match point.

The American hammered two serves to reach match point and the next point was challenged successfully by Karen to level eight points each and he won the last two points for the victory. He will face Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.

The victory stretches the 22-year old Khachanov’s dominance of the lanky 33-year old American. In their first career meeting, at the 2017 French Open, he defeated his opponent in the round of 32 by the scores 7/6 (1); 6/3; 6/7 (5); 7/6 (3) and at this year’s ATP Masters in Canada, the result was 7/6 (5); 7/6 (1).

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John IsnerKaren Khachanov
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