Tennis star Karen Khachanov, who has Armenian roots, advanced to his second consecutive Grand Slam semi-final on Tuesday, January 24 night after Sebastian Korda retired in the third set of their Australian Open matchup with a right-wrist injury. The 18th seed was leading 7-6(5), 6-3, 3-0 after winning seven straight games following a medical timeout for the American midway through set two.
"For sure, back-to-back semi-finals in a Grand Slam feels great," Khachanov said in an on-court interview. "Obviously not the way you want to finish the match. I think until a certain point it was very competitive, a very good battle. Sebastian beat one of my friends, Daniil [Medvedev], in three sets and won in five sets against Hurkacz. He is playing great tennis.
"I'm feeling good, to be honest. I'm really happy about my level, about the way I compete, and looking forward to the semi-finals here in Australia for the first time."
Khachanov, by reaching the Melbourne quarters, became the 10th active male player and the 50th in the Open Era to reach that stage at all four Grand Slams. He has now won his past two major quarter-finals after his run to the semis at the 2022 US Open.
"I think I kind of reinvented myself," he said of his recent form, more than three years after he reached a career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking of No. 8 in 2019. "I always believe in myself but there are always ups and downs, and sometimes when you have a great result it just shows you what you are capable of and then you start to believe more and more.
"This belief and self-confidence I think appeared much stronger after the US Open. I made a few semi-finals already so I hope to continue that way and to grow as a person and as a sportsman."
Khachanov will seek his first Grand Slam final when he faces Stefanos Tsitsipas or Jiri Lehecka, with that quarter-final set for Tuesday evening in Rod Laver Arena.
Throughout the Australia Open, Khachanov has also been supporting Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh), which has been under Azerbaijan’s blockade for almost 45 days now. After each victory, the Russian-Armenian tennis player approached one of the cameras shooting the game and wrote on the lens a message of support for besieged Armenians.