Karen Khachanov captures Doha championship

DOHA: No. 2 seed Karen Khachanov defeated Czech teenager Jakub Mensik 7-6 (12), 6-4 yesterday to win his sixth career title at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha.

The 27-year-old Russian did not drop a set all week, a record he kept intact by fighting off four set points in the opening-set tiebreak.

Khachanov prevailed on the 26th point of the tiebreak by crushing a forehand return on Mensik's big serve, then collected the only break of the match in the opening game of the second set.

"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," said Khachanov, whose one-hour, 49-minute victory delivered his first title since Zhuhai in September.

Mensik, competing in only his third tour-level event, was the youngest finalist in Doha history. He hammered 16 aces and finished with 33 winners and 10 unforced errors. --REUTERS

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