Karen Khachanov, the top seed at the Huafa Properties Zhuhai Championships, displayed a remarkable performance on Monday as he secured his spot in the final by defeating Sebastian Korda with a score of 7-5, 6-4. This victory marks a significant milestone for Khachanov, as it is his first title match of the season and the end of a five-match semi-final losing streak.
Throughout the one-hour and 47-minute showdown, Khachanov showcased his dominance on the court. His precision and power were evident, with the Russian player red-lining the ball to his advantage. In a tightly contested first set, Khachanov seized a crucial break at 5-5, taking advantage of Korda's net-bound drop shot.
The second set witnessed Khachanov's unwavering determination as he delivered shots with exceptional depth, weight, and precision. His prowess in baseline exchanges propelled him to victory and improved his head-to-head record against Korda to 3-2.
Reflecting on his performance, Khachanov acknowledged the challenge Korda posed, citing the American's strong serve and game style resembling that of Mackenzie McDonald in the previous round. However, Khachanov executed his game plan flawlessly, describing his performance as "very solid."
Khachanov's Remarkable Comeback Story
Khachanov's journey to the final is particularly noteworthy as he has only competed in singles four times since suffering a stress fracture in his back during the quarter-finals at Roland Garros. Despite an early exit at the US Open, Khachanov displayed resilience in Zhuhai, securing victories against Alex Bolt and Mackenzie McDonald.
In the championship match, Khachanov will face Japanese sensation Yoshihito Nishioka. This encounter presents an opportunity for Khachanov to secure his first title since 2018 and his fifth overall. Notably, Khachanov has had success on Chinese soil in the past, having lifted the trophy in Chengdu in 2016.
Korda, on the other hand, was competing in his eighth tour-level semi-final, aiming for his sixth final appearance. His impressive performance in Zhuhai has elevated him to No. 28 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.
In the other semi-final, Yoshihito Nishioka secured his place in the final by defeating Aslan Karatsev with a score of 6-4, 6-4. Nishioka showcased exceptional return skills, winning 65 percent of points on Karatsev's second serve. Moreover, he displayed consistency by committing just five unforced errors during the match.
With this victory, Nishioka is vying for his third tour-level trophy and his second in China, following his triumph in Shenzhen in 2018. He has climbed eight spots in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, now sitting at No. 38.
As the anticipation builds for the championship match between Karen Khachanov and Yoshihito Nishioka, tennis enthusiasts worldwide eagerly await the outcome of this thrilling showdown. Stay tuned for what promises to be an exciting battle for the title at the Huafa Properties Zhuhai Championships.