MOSCOW, October 21, 2018
Karen Khachanov is the champion of the 2018 VTB Kremlin Cup. The 22-year-old from Russia cruised past Adrian Mannarino of France 6-2, 6-2 in Sunday’s final of the ATP World Tour 250 event in Moscow.
In front of his home crowd at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium, which hosted the basketball and boxing events during the 1980 Summer Games, Khachanov broke serve early in each of both sets and converted his first match point after only 54 minutes.
“I started really well,” Khachanov told Tennis TourTalk. “I was very aggressive and didn’t give him chances to step into the match and get some rhythm. I think that was one of the keys.”
Khachanov has become the first Russian man to win the Kremlin Cup since Mikhail Youzhny’s triumph in 2009. According to Andrey Kostin, CEO of the VTB Bank, 80,000 spectators came to watch the matches throughout the last nine days in Moscow.
“[Winning in Russia] was one of the dreams I had when I was a kid,” said Khachanov. “Coming here [as a kid] I was asking top Russian players for autographs and dreaming one day to become a champion here. Today is the day and I am really happy. These are memories I will always keep in my head.”
Khachanov earns $152.785 in prize money as well as 250 ATP-Ranking points, which will help him to break inside the top 20 for the first time in his career. He will also be Russia’s new No. 1, one spot ahead of Daniil Medvedev.
“That’s a progress and it shows that I am improving. That will give me extra motivation to achieve the goals that I have. I will celebrate tonight with my friends and family. Tomorrow I will be off to Vienna and everything starts from zero,” Khachanov commented.
Krajicek, Ram take doubles title
Earlier in the day, Austin Krajicek and Rajeev Ram clinched the doubles title. The No. 2 seeded US-American duo beat the tournament’s No. 3 Max Mirnyi from Belarus and Philipp Oswald of Austria 7-6(4), 6-4. The final lasted one hour and 17 minutes.
Krajicek and Ram were playing just their second tour-level event together. Ram lifted his 16th doubles trophy, Krajicek won his maiden title. The pair split $46,420 in prize money as well as 250 ATP-Ranking.
Mirnyi and Oswald lose their last match as a team
For Mirnyi and Oswald, it was their last match as a team. The tandem claimed their first title here in Moscow one year ago and added two more triumphs in Houston and New York later in the season.
“We had a great partnership and I learnt a lot,” Oswald told Tennis TourTalk afterwards. “Max, however, isn’t sure about his future. He still has to decide if he continues on the tour or not. He told me during the US Open that I should look for a new partner.” Next up for the 32-year-old Austrian will be his home tournament in Vienna, where he will team up with compatriot Jürgen Melzer.
“We played well together in the Davis Cup. I hope that we can show a similar performance in front of our home crowd and cause a bit of a sensation next week.”