Karen Khachanov became the twelfth seed in the men’s draw to exit Roland Garros and we are not even at the half way stage yet. The Russian got beat by Japanese former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori in a five set marathon on Wednesday. To be a great tennis player you don’t have to be short, although it can be a disadvantage especially on the service part of the game. Watch Kei win this point 0-1 in the second set to Nishikori with Karen up 30-0. Great foot work and racket motion can work just as well as a huge serve. Karen did not look comfortable playing on the baseline, his defensive game was okay during this point but the execution let him down. Watch 5-2 to Nishikori in the second set , the Japanese leading 30-40.
Khachanov was the better server, not surprisingly. He had 5 Aces and served a decent 63% on first serve compared to no Aces for Kei with more accuracy on first serve though at 65%. Kei’s conversion of break points left a lot to be desired though, only converting 5 out of 19. This is testament though to the better defensive game and fighting spirit of the Russian. Is there a better player on the ATP Tour at disguising drop shots than Kei Nishikori. Watch 3-2 final set Karen up 30-0. Kei’s posture says I am going to smash a forehand down the line, the ending didn’t go along with that script.