Top seed Karen Khachanov of Russia beat Alex Bolt of Australia 6-4 in the second round of the Zhuhai Championships on September 22. The match lasted for around two hours, as the 27-year-old Russian held on for a relatively easy win.
Khachanov will face sixth seed Mackenzie McDonald of the United States in the quarter final on Sunday. While the American can be a dangerous opponent, Khachanov will start as the favorite in that match.
On that note, let us take a look at two things that stood out in the match between Khachanov and Bolt:
#1. A battle between two powerful baseliners
Both Khachanov and Bolt dealt powerful blows to each other from the baseline right from the beginning. They kept trying to hit through each other, but mostly failed in their pursuit, as both defended really well.
Moreover, Bolt's crosscourt forehand was not as powerful as his down-the-line one and it gave Khachanov enough time to react.
The Russian kept going around his backhand often to hurt his Australian opponent with his inside-in and inside-out forehands. Bolt also approached the net at times and hit a few fine volley winners, but was at the receiving end of a few strong passing shots by Khachanov.
He broke Bolt in the first game of the match, as the latter hit a down-the-line forehand long on break point and held his serve to get a 2-0 lead. He then maintained the lead for the remainder of the set to win it and draw the first blood.
#2. Bolt's inexperience at the top level showed in the match
Bolt, who entered the tournament as a qualifier, did not have enough experience at the top level, and it showed in the way he was defeated. The Australian had 10 break point opportunities in the match, but was not able to convert a single one.
Khachanov, on the other hand, converted two of the three break points that came his way. Bolt's poor first serve ratio of 54% in the match did not help his cause either. He was able to win only 50% of the points on his second serve, while Khachanov managed a slightly better 58%.
It was a close match overall, but the Russian used his experience at the key moments to get the better of the Australian in the end.