Random thoughts, observations, links and other goodies from the tennis world this week …
• Karen Khachanov. Who? Karen Khachanov. The Russian teenager, ranked No. 808, upset Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 6-4 at the Kremlin Cup to become the first 17-year-old to make an ATP quarterfinal since Kei Nishikori in 2007. (Khachanov lost to 34-year-old Ivo Karlovic in the quarterfinals.) The 6-foot-6 teenager already has people talking.
You can get a sense of his game from these highlights:
• Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from next week’s Swiss Indoors — which takes place in Roger Federer’s hometown of Basel, Switzerland — a tournament he hasn’t played since 2004. His earlier commitment to the tournament was surprising because he seldom plays the European indoor circuit. The tournament takes place the same week as another ATP 500 event, the Valencia Open, run by Juan Carlos Ferrero, Nadal’s friend. Ferrero said he was disappointed in Nadal’s initial choice and then offered a wild card to Novak Djokovic, who turned it down to focus on the Paris Masters and ATP World Tour Finals.
• David Ferrer isn’t playing his best hard-court tennis these days, but credit to Jack Sock for taking a set off the No. 4 before losing 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 at the Stockholm Open. That’s very typical of Ferrer, with his ability to grind down opponents.
• Maria Sharapova has been in Sweden this week. In related news, Grigor Dimitrov is into the semifinals of the Stockholm Open.
• The Russian Fed Cup team is struggling to field a team for the final against Italy. Sharapova is out due to injury. Maria Kirilenko, Elena Vesnina and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova have qualified for the Sofia Tournament of Champions (Vesnina has said she’ll skip Fed Cup and Pavluchenkova is also considering it). Ekaterina Makarova is struggling with an injury, and Svetlana Kuznetsova told Russian media that she actually turned down an invitation to play. Needless to say, this makes Fed Cup look like a pointless competition when a country can’t even persuade its top players to play.
• Quite the run this week for Joachim “Pim Pim” Johansson at the Stockholm Open. The 31-year-old Swede, who reached No. 9 in 2005, played his first ATP-level tournament since 2009, and proceeded to make it through qualifying and beat Alejandro Falla 6-1, 6-3 in the first round. He insists this was just a one-off tournament, but that was fun to watch.
• Checking in the on growing Clijsters-Lynch clan:
• Roger Federer made a Kanye West joke. Not sure I ever saw that coming.
• Let’s end it on this: