Karen Khachanov wins sixth-career title at Qatar Open

In search of his first tournament victory since September 2023, Armenian professional tennis player Karen Khachanov arrived in Doha, Qatar with one thing on his mind: silverware. 

Beginning his Qatar Open title run in the round of 16, 27-year-old Khachanov had Hungary’s Fábián Marozsán in the way of a 250th-career win. Khachanov was relentless, winning in two sets 6-4, 7-5 including a sensational between-the-legs return that earned him a 15-0 advantage during the second game of the second set.

Khachanov’s quarterfinal matchup against Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori was less eventful. After Khachanov rushed away with a 3-0 advantage in the first set, his opponent abandoned the match due to a back injury. Thus, the world No. 17 was granted a spot in the semifinals.

With a spot in his first final of 2024 on the line, Khachanov geared up for a clash with Australia’s Alexei Popyrin. The Aussie, however, gave Khachanov a long-winded battle in the first set. The Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex was treated to a 26-point first-set tiebreak (lasting 65 minutes) that ultimately fell in favor of Khachanov 7-6 (12) before he earned a cleaner 6-2 second set victory.

In his post-match interview, Khachanov took time to profess his desire to meet Ballon d’Or winner and Brazilian football legend Kaká. “I’m looking forward to meeting one special player over there. Hala Madrid! I’m a fan of Real Madrid, and I just wanted to say hello,” he said.

The Qatar Open final between Khachanov and Czechia’s Jakub Mensik was déjà vu for the Armenian. Exactly like his first set in the semifinals, Khachanov walked away with a 7-6 (12) victory, en route to winning his sixth-career title (6-4 in the second set). Khachanov did not drop a single set during his Qatar Open run and stopped 18-year-old Mensik from becoming the 10th youngest ATP champion.

During his post-match interview, Khachanov was shocked that his semifinal and final first sets were identical. “Today I couldn’t believe it was the same score, same tie-break…I stayed strong. I’m extremely happy that I won the first set. It lifted me a lot and gave me a lot of confidence to step up in the second.”

Khachanov also spoke about how every title is special to him. “Every time, you want to win. We play around 22 tournaments per season, and at the end of the day, you compete every week. For sure here in Doha it is one of the nicest trophies,” he said.

Khachanov’s season is only heating up. Just a couple of days after hoisting the Falcon Trophy, Khachanov will lace up to compete in the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Jason Takhtadjian

Jason Takhtadjian

Jason Takhtadjian is a reporter, producer and weekend anchor at KCAU-TV in Sioux City, Iowa. Takhtadjian began college pursuing Mechanical Engineering with a focus on Aerospace until deciding to pursue a sports broadcast career after one semester at the University of Nevada - Las Vegas. While at UNLV, Takhtadjian worked on his own weekly radio show/podcast covering soccer and basketball, produced his own sports debate show, was part of the university’s weekly sports show “The Rebel Report” and was the play-by-play commentator for UNLV men’s and women’s soccer and basketball, to name a few. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, Jason was graduating college and had to pivot to the world of general news to land a job. Three years after accepting a job in the middle of the United States with no Armenian community, Takhtadjian accepted a reporter position at KSEE in Fresno, California. The 26-year-old also worked as a contributor for Armenian Sports News, helping grow the page by thousands of followers in less than a year of work.

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