MOSCOW, January 24. /TASS/. Russian tennis player Karen Khachanov advanced on Tuesday to the semifinals of the 2023 Australian Open Championship after his opponent was forced to retire due to an injury.
The 18th seeded Khachanov faced off against 29th-seed Sebastian Korda of the United States at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne earlier in the day. With the contest standing at 7-6 (7-6), 6-3, 3-0 in favor of the Russian, Korda retired from the quarterfinals match, citing a wrist injury.
"For sure, back-to-back semifinals in a Grand Slam feels great," the official ATP website quoted Khachanov as saying 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 [Poland’s Hubert] Hurkacz. He [Korda] is playing great tennis," he continued.
"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 added.
Speaking about his forced retirement and the wrist injury, Korda commented after the match "I don't know what it really is."
"I had it in Adelaide [at the international tournament in early January] and then it went away completely. Now it just came back out of nowhere," the US player continued.
"Some forehands I couldn't even hold the racquet. Volleying was almost impossible for me. So it was a little tough," Korda added.
Khachanov, who is playing at the tournament in Melbourne under a neutral status, awaits the winner of the quarterfinals clash between 3rd-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and unseeded Czech player Jiri Lehecka in the next round.
Khachanov, 26, who is 20th in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Rankings List, is the winner of four ATP titles and his best performance in the Grand Slam series was when he reached the semi-final round at the 2022 US Open. Khachanov also was the silver-medalist at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in men’s singles.
The 2023 Australian Open tournament is played on hard courts at Melbourne Park between January 16 and 29 and it has $53.4 million in prize money up for grabs. The opening tournament of the annual Grand Slam series in Australia marks its 111th edition this year. Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Australia’s Ashleigh Barty are the reigning Australian Open champions in men’s and women’s singles respectively.
The Russian men's singles champions at the Australian Open tournaments were Yevgeny Kafelnikov (1999) and Marat Safin (2005). Russia’s Daniil Medvedev reached the final of the tournament in Melbourne last year, but eventually lost to Rafael Nadal of Spain.
Russian players’ neutral status at tennis tournaments
On February 28, 2022, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued recommendations to international sports federations to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in international tournaments, citing Moscow’s special military operation in Ukraine as the reason.
Following the IOC’s recommendations in late February last year, the majority of global sports federations decided to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from all international sports tournaments.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) ruled on March 1, 2022 to suspend the membership of the Russian and Belarusian national tennis federations and also canceled all previously scheduled tennis tournaments in these countries.
On March 14, 2022, the ITF also confirmed its ban on the Russian and Belarusian national tennis teams from taking part in the 2022 Davis Cup and 2022 Billie Jean King Cup.
The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) and the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) allowed tennis players from Russia and Belarus to continue participating in WTA and ATP tournaments, but under a neutral status.