Karen Khachanov (Russia) became the first player to confirm a Final 8 booking in the 2023 Australian Open men’s singles draw here at John Cain Arena, after he got away in straight sets against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka – 0-6, 0-6, 6-7 (4-7 tiebreak).
Gutted for Nishioka with the elimination after he came out of nowhere to try & save himself in the game throughout the 3rd set. Now he made up some inspiring fightbacks along the way that went all the way via the tiebreak, but just not enough to continue such a rebuild from two sets down when his opponent collected all three straight stage wins to wrap up this 4R tie. Playing at the Aus Open has been his best run here so far, having once made the 3rd Round three years ago. He vows to go one better next time and if he can show that he can inspire the game with fighting spirit from start to finish, then we could see him in the Final 8 grand slam draw sooner rather than later next time.
And great to see Khachanov tick off all four grand slam finals appearances, as this is his first knockout occasion here at Melbourne Park ahead of his next meeting either against Hubert Hurkacz (Poland) or Sebastian Korda (USA) on Tuesday. He was just too good during the first two sets & although he did face some pressure at times from Nishioka going into the 3rd set, but he has done enough with some fightback & patience needed to bring it home. These are the two key factors Khachanov will be tested on his next grand slam match if he wants to make the semis again like he did last year at the US Open, where he fell short over there out of a four-set showdown v Casper Ruud.