Djokovic Downs Khachanov At Astana Open

Novak Djokovic (photo: KTF)

ASTANA/STARNBERG, October 7, 2022

Novak Djokovic continued his fine run of form by reaching the semi-finals of the Astana Open. The No. 4 seed of the ATP 500 hard-court event in Kazakhstan defeated Russian Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-3 on Friday.

Djokovic won 85 per cent of his first-service points and broke his rival three times to prevail in one hour and 28 minutes.

“I didn’t play as well from the baseline as I did in the first two matches, but still it was enough. I managed to produce some good tennis when it was the most needed in both sets,” said Djokovic, who advanced to his sixth semi-final of 2022 and first at an ATP 500 event since 2020 Dubai.

“I always expect highs from myself. Hopefully I can elevate still the level of my game for tomorrow because it’s going to be needed, obviously, whoever I play against.”

The 35-year-old Serbian, champion at last week’s Tel Aviv Open in Israel, will face Daniil Medvedev in the stage of the final four. The No. 2 seed from Russia eased past Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 6-1, 6-1 in 64 minutes. Djokovic leads the pair’s head-to-head series 6-4.

Tsitsipas to face Rublev

The top half of the draw was in action earlier in the day led by Stefanos Tsitsipas, who defeated No. 7 seed Hubert Hurkacz from Poland 7-6(8), 6-3. The third-seeded Greek withstood 11 aces, saved five set points in the tie-break of the opening set and broke his rival’s serve in the seventh game of the second to secure victory in one hour and 41 minutes.

“Most of those situations, I was not the fortunate one serving,” Tsitsipas said afterwards, referring to the set points. “I was still able to break through and get back fighting, and it was very, very emotional to get that first tie-break after having thrown my body on the court.

“It was a very good moment to finish it off and get the tie-break.”

Tsitsipas carries a 5-4 head-to-head record into his semi-final clash with Andrey Rublev, who eased past French veteran Adrian Mannarino 6-1, 6-2 in 55 minutes..

“He strikes the ball very hard,” said Tsitsipas of his upcoming match against the Russian. “But I’m going to concentrate on my game. I’m going to be well prepared and visualise it before.”

World No. 6 Tsitsipas is bidding for a maiden ATP 500 title, having lost all eight of his championship matches at 500s.