Former world No. 8 Karen Khachanov vowed to “fight like a dog” when he meets Gael Monfils in the Adelaide final.
Khachanov, a four-time ATP champion, hasn’t won an ATP title since winning the Paris Masters in 2018.
On Saturday, world No. 29 Khachanov beat Marin Cilic 7-6 (3) 6-3 to reach the Adelaide final.
“The last two years I didn’t win tournaments, so for me to make it to another final, it’s very important,” Khachanov said, per the ATP website. “Obviously, I will fight like a dog tomorrow, and let’s see what happens.”
Khachanov set to battle Monfils
In the remaining semiifnal, world No. 21 Monfils beat home favorite Thanasi Kokkinakis 7-5 6-0.
“Tonight the stadium was packed. That’s what you train for and what you want to play for. That’s why I say I was stressed out at the start. It’s that adrenaline that I missed a lot,” Monfils admitted, per So Tennis.
Monfils spoke several times about how the ATP Tour suspension affected him negatively.
Monfils was playing a great tennis at the start of 2021 but then the season got suspended.
“I think I’m 21 or something. Before the pandemic I think I was 9 … (…) Obviously the goal is always to shine in big tournaments. I still believe I can. I work hard for this,” Monfils acknowledged.
Monfils had a strong preseason and now he is hoping to Adelaide and clinch his first title since 2020.
“I had a great preseason and I feel good with good form too. Now I feel better. I hope tomorrow I can have another good match,” Monfils stated.
Interestingly, Monfils and Khachanov have no previous meetings on the ATP Tour.
Monfils beat Juan Manuel Cerundolo, Tommy Paul and Kokkinakis en route to making the Adelaide final.
On the other side, Khachanov beat Steve Johnson, Egor Gerasimov and Cilic to make the Adelaide final.