At 23 years of age Karen Khachanov can still be bracketed with the NextGen contingent despite having already cut his teeth at Wimbledon three years ago and made a last 16 appearance 12 months ago when he became the youngest Russian to reach that stage since Mikhail Youzhny in 2002.
I’m feeling pretty comfortable, nothing to complain about and I’m in the third round and feeling pretty good. I adapt to my next rival and try to get ready for it. Karen Khachanov
And he showed a lot of promise as he recovered from a set down to progress past Feliciano Lopez, the Marathon Man of Queen’s, 4-6 6-4 7-5 6-4.
Lopez will always be remembered for his heroics in winning both the singles and doubles titles at the Fever Tree Championships at the age of 37, and he did give his younger opponent a good two-hour, 44-minute workout on No1. Court.
“I thought that match was under control after winning the first set,” Lopez said. “I had a few chances at the beginning of the second set, two times 15-40 on his serve but didn’t make it.”
But having dropped the first set Khachanov, seeded 10, erased any signs of a possible upset by the unseeded Spaniard as he rallied in the second and settled into his gam deploying his fearsome forehand to good effect and fending off a strong counter attack in the fourth..
“I just tried to stay there, I didn’t start too well but Felli is always difficult on grass,” Khachanov said after the match. “I couldn’t find a rhythm then, when I found some, that turned the situation around.
“I think I played well in the last couple of years and have had some good results. I’m feeling pretty comfortable, nothing to complain about and I’m in the third round and feeling pretty good. I adapt to my next rival and try to get ready for it.”
And that will be another Spaniard, the 23rd seed Roberto Bautista Agut who beat Peter Gojowczyk in straight sets on Monday.