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Getting to Know: Karen Khachanov

September 1, 2016 - Karen Khachanov in action against Kei Nishikori during the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY.

Karen Khachanov is arguably the least heralded entrant into the French Open round of 16, but his spot in the second week has been well-earned. The No. 53 player in the world dismissed No. 13 seed Tomas Berdych in straight sets in the second round and No. 21 seed John Isner in four sets on Sunday to advance.

Here are six things to know about this fast-rising 21-year-old from Russia:

  • Like fellow ATP NextGen star Alex Zverev, Khachanov stands at 6-foot-6, with an impressive array of power strokes to disarm his opponents. Not surprisingly, given his size, Khachanov grew up idolizing 6-foot-4 Marat Safin, a fellow Russian, and 6-7 Juan Martin del Potro.

  • Djan, as he is nicknamed, started playing tennis at age 3. He now trains in Barcelona, Spain, which explains his affinity for clay (which he lists as his favorite surface).

  • Khachanov enjoyed a solid junior career, peaking at No. 16 in the world junior rankings in January 2014. His biggest victory came at the 2013 European Championships, where he defeated 2014 US Open Junior Championships finalist and fellow rising star Quentin Halys in the final.

  • He has made steady progress up the rankings as a pro, winning three Futures and one Challenger title to improve from No. 374 at year-end 2014 to No. 152 at year-end 2015. He added two additional Challenger titles in 2016 to crack the Top 100, finishing the year at No. 53.

  • This spring, in the lead-up to the French Open, he reached the quarterfinals in both Barcelona and Lyon and scored a victory over Nicolas Mahut in Monte Carlo.

  • The 2017 French Open is only his third Grand Slam main draw. Khachanov previously reached the second round at the 2016 US Open and 2017 Australian Open.