For Karen Khachanov, the last six months have been the most successful in his career.

At least in terms of performance at the most prestigious competitions - Grand Slam tournaments.

In September, the Russian tennis player, who had not previously overcome the third round barrier at the US Open, sensationally made it to the semifinals, where he lost to the future third racket of the world, Kasper Ruud, and now he has repeated this achievement at the Australian Open.

Thus, he stood on a par with Marat Safin and Daniil Medvedev, who managed to perform just as successfully at the Majors.

But in order to challenge the title for the first time, the Russian had to overcome another difficult test.

Earlier, Khachanov met Stefanos Tsitsipas five times, but never managed to get the better of him, limiting himself to only two won games.

The last time he managed to impose a semblance of a struggle at the Masters in Rome, where the Russian successfully started the match, but then got a “steering wheel” and was subsequently forced to capitulate.

The Greek is one of Khachanov's most uncomfortable opponents on the ATP tour.

Rafael Nadal dealt with Karen eight times in a row, and the balance of meetings with Novak Djokovic, whose paths could have crossed with Karen in the Australian Open final, is slightly better: 8-1.

And this time, Khachanov also had an extremely difficult time.

In long draws, Tsitsipas looked preferable: he acted in a variety of ways and terrorized with unexpected short ones.

Moreover, Karen himself regularly made tactical and technical miscalculations: either he ran to the net after an unsuccessful cut blow, opening a corridor for a counterattack along the line, or he smeared an oblique short cross from an advantageous position.

And although these mistakes cost him two games on his pitch, the Russian did not give up and immediately made a reverse break.

As a result, he lost the first set only in a tie-break and, on the whole, left a rather pleasant impression of his game, giving hope for the end of a series of defeats from Tsitsipas.

But the second game was much worse.

Khachanov could not cope with the opponent's serve: he allowed him to complete seven aces and did not earn a single break point, while he allowed four.

And although Stefanos managed to realize only one of them, this was enough.

The third set turned out to be the most intense and stretched out for more than an hour.

And this is surprising, because in most games at the reception, Khachanov still felt out of place and practically did not resist.

What can not be said about Tsitsipas.

He again made an early break and rushed at full speed to victory.

But at the decisive moment, the fourth racket of the world could not cope with the nerves.

Serving for the match, he made three mistakes, two of which became unforced, and then gave Karen a chance to make it to the tie-break.

There, the Russian again showed strength of character and performed a small miracle - he played two match points, soaked the score and made an application for a comeback.

However, it is very difficult to count on success when you are inferior in more than 80% of the draws on the first serve of the opponent and at the same time you cannot impose your game on him.

In the fourth installment, Tsitsipas literally crushed Khachanov: at the reception, the Russian managed to catch only five points out of 26, and he had more than three times fewer actively won goals (5:17).

Stefanos again made a quick break and did not miss the initiative - 7:6 (7:2), 6:4, 6:7 (6:8), 6:3.

“Everything is very close, I realize it.

Not that there is a time for everything, but it is a kind of process.

As soon as you go further, any lost match is insulting, but you realize what is wrong, what was missing, in what moments you need to add, improve.

I look at this already from a positive side, (thinking. -


), what is needed for the next step.

Two semi-finals, I want more, I understand: everything is in my hands.

Although sometimes not all, the opponent also plays tennis.

I will continue to add and move on with my head held high, ” quotes Khachanov.

And although Khachanov really lost in an equal fight, it is still premature to talk about his full-fledged entry into the elite.

As in the case of Rublev.

But while Andrey can't get past the quarter-finals at TBS yet, Karen is experiencing enormous problems in duels with representatives of the top ten of the ATP rating.

He has consistently lost the last 23 matches, and the overall balance of meetings with the tops looks depressing - 10:48.

And if the Russian does not learn how to pick up the keys to them, then it is unlikely that he will be able to achieve big victories.

The same can be said about Tommy Paul, who became one of the main discoveries of the championship in Melbourne.

To the surprise of many, the American reached the semi-finals, but could not create another sensation.

Novak Djokovic easily dealt with the 35th racket of the world and reached the final of the Australian Open for the tenth time.

And this despite the fact that his father Srjan, who accompanied his son throughout the tournament, could not be present in the stands.

Djokovic Sr. came under pressure from the public after he took pictures with fans holding the Russian flag and expressed words of support to them.

Ukrainian Ambassador Vasily Miroshnichenko immediately reacted to this, calling for the father of the 21-time TBS champion to be banned from attending his son's matches in Australia.

Srdzhan did not wait for a reaction from the country's Tennis Federation and voluntarily refused to go to the Rod Laver arena.

As for Novak, he experienced minor problems only in the first set.

The Serbian succeeded twice at the reception and led 5-1, but lost concentration and allowed the American to restore parity.

But that's where the "gifts" ended.

Djokovic won seven games in a row and not only took the first game, but almost guaranteed himself success in the second.

And although Paul did not lose any of the subsequent segments at zero, he failed to put up serious resistance - 5:7, 1:6, 2:6.

Against the backdrop of Khachanov's failure, the performance of young athletes in a single tournament became a balm for the soul of domestic fans.

Yes, Mirra Andreeva and Alina Korneeva were among the top ten seeded and were considered one of the main contenders for the trophy, but unlike more star rivals, they were able to confirm their status in practice and reach the final.

Over the past ten years, two representatives of the same country have played only five times in the decisive matches at the junior TBSH, and once tennis players from Russia achieved this.

In 2015, Sofia Zhuk and Anna Blinkova fought for the title at Wimbledon.

Particularly striking is how confidently Andreeva moved along the grid.

For the entire tournament, she did not lose a set, and in the semifinals she decided all the questions in 84 minutes.

And this despite the fact that on the other half of the court was Rana Akua Stoiber, seeded under the 14th number.

However, the native of Great Britain failed to cope with the excitement and made much more unforced errors (44:17), which predetermined the outcome of the confrontation.

Mirra regularly clung to the reception, made five breaks and deservedly took over - 6:3, 6:2.

Korneeva had a much harder time, but her opponent was more status.

Sayaka Ishii not only occupied a higher place in the ITF rankings, but also had three junior championship cups in her track record.

She won the last of them in the Colombian Barranquilla, where she dealt with a number of star juniors.

It turned out well for her and the beginning of the meeting with the Russian woman.

The Japanese woman, although she immediately allowed a break on her serve, but then answered the same three times and took the first set.

Korneev was not bothered by this.

In the quarterfinals, she also gave up the game (albeit the second one), but subsequently turned on the maximum speed and went through the sixth racket of the junior rating Tereza Valentova from the Czech Republic.

Did not escape this fate and Ishii.

In the second and third sets, Alina was incredibly calm and accurate, while Sayaka made one miss after another.

In the second period alone, there were 23 unforced errors, and for the whole game - as many as 47. In such conditions, it was impossible to fight with an incredibly stable Russian woman - 6:2, 4:6, 2:6.