Karen Khachanov earned a confidence-boosting win against the ever-consistent Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut on Thursday at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.
The 22-year-old knuckled down to recover from a set and 3-4 deficit to win 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in two hours and 29 minutes. By breaking a three-match losing streak against Bautista Agut, Khachanov will next play on Thursday against fifth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem or Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, whom he lost to at last week’s Mutua Madrid Open.
Khachanov wrestled control away from Bautista Agut by breaking in the ninth game of the second set, then powered through the decider for his ninth match win of 2019. Since winning his first ATP Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Paris Masters in November 2018, he has won consecutive matches on two previous occasions: the Australian Open, where he reached the third round (l. to Bautista Agut) and at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, where the Russian advanced to the quarter-finals (l. to Nadal).
Elsewhere on day three at the Foro Italico in Rome, American qualifier Taylor Fritz set up a meeting against sixth-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori after a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Guido Pella of Argentina.
Jeremy Chardy completed his one-set shootout against fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet, which had been carried over from Monday night at one-set apiece. Chardy triumphed 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 and now challenges second seed and eight-time champion Rafael Nadal on Wednesday.