Nine Years Later, Khachanov Banishes Djere Demons In Halle

  • Posted: Jun 16, 2022

Nine Years Later, Khachanov Banishes Djere Demons In Halle

26-year-old reaches fourth quarter-final at ATP 500 event in Germany

It may have taken the best part of a decade, but Karen Khachanov was finally able to banish lingering grass-court demons against Laslo Djere on Thursday afternoon.

The 26-year-old recovered from a slow start to clinch a 7-6(4), 6-4 second-round win over Djere at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle. It was the pair’s second tour-level clash, but their first on grass since the Boys’ Singles at Wimbledon in 2013, a meeting Khachanov still remembers well.

“We played once [before] on a grass court at junior Wimbledon, I lost in three sets,” said Khachanov after his one-hour, 43-minute victory on Thursday. “I remember that match perfectly, what I did wrong in the third set. I think I was even a break up in the third and ended up losing 6-3. This time I took revenge on grass finally.”

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The eighth seed rallied from a double-break down at 2-5 in the opening set in Halle, saving two set points on the Djere serve at 4-5 before clinching it via tie-break. An immediate break in the second set was enough to complete the turnaround for Khachanov, who was the more solid player despite firing just 19 winners to Djere’s 29.

“The first set was very tricky,” said Khachanov. “I was two breaks down and I don’t know how, but I managed to win the first set. I played a good tie-break, and it gave me a lot of confidence for the second set, from the beginning especially to keep pushing… I’m happy that I could turn it around, I could change the game and started to play better.”

The win takes Khachanov to a fourth quarter-final in Halle, where his best showing is a semi-final run from 2017. He next faces home favourite Oscar Otte, after the World No. 51 rallied to a 4-6, 6-0, 7-6(3) victory against Nikoloz Basilashvili to reach the quarter-finals on tournament debut.

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