Karen Khachanov of Russia hits a backhand return during his match with Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan on the third day of the Kooyong Classic tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 12, 2017. / AFP / WILLIAM WEST / IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE        (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

Khachanov’s serve gets win against Nishioka at Kooyong

Posted on January 12, 2017

It was power from big man Karen Khachanov that earned him a 6-4 2-6 (10-3) victory against Japanese speedster Yoshihito Nishioka on day three at the 2017 Priceline Pharmacy Kooyong Classic.

The 20-year-old from Russia made sure to make his serving game count and was able to hit a few decisive winners in the super tie breaker that finished the match after one hour and 18 minutes.

“At the beginning not so well, I didn’t move very good so I tried to adapt and later on while I was in the game I played much better,” Khachanov said.

“I played much better at the finish than at the beginning.”

Coming into the new season the world number 51 made a point of trying to strengthen his serve that is still a work in progress leading in to the Australian Open.

“We were working a lot in the off-season, I think I’ve improved my serve the speed with more aces, more accuracy,” he added.

“It’s step by step but I was more happy with the serve.”

The temperature was again hot and sunny at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club for a third consecutive day, which will benefit those players preparing for soaring conditions at Melbourne Park next week.

“That was a good try today, so today was cold I would say comparing to the next days,” Khachanov explained.

“I heard next week it’s going to be 39 and 40 so we’ll try to get ready.”

Nishioka was upbeat after the match despite the loss and satisfied with how he played against another opponent much taller than him for a second day in a row.

“Well for me this is normal, like everybody for me is a big guy,” he said with a smile.

“But I know him very well from juniors because we are the same age and a couple of times we’ve played each other in junior tournaments.

“I knew he has a great forward and serve so like same thing as yesterday the focus was on returning.

“Today my returning was really good, I had many chances to break his service games.”

The 21-year-old is currently ranked 100 in the world and will be hoping his fitness and agility can help him progress out of the first round next week.

“The 10-point tiebreak was a little bit me missing easy shots and then he hit the big shots,” Nishioka said.

“So, sometimes it’s like this with the big guys you know but yeah I played very good and I’m feeling very good.”

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