Reigning Australian champion and World No.1 Novak Djokovic ended Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev’s fairytale run to the semifinals. This was the debut Grand Slam for the 27-year old and he shocked everyone by qualifying for the semifinals in his first attempt.
While Djokovic had a comfortable semi-final outing against the World No.144 as he defeated him in straight sets, 6-3 6-4 6-2 in a match that lasted for less than two hours.
It was a rather soothing start with both players serving efficiently and keeping their composure. However, Djokovic got the break in the eighth game and won the first set 6-3. The World No.1 was very clean with his errors whereas Karatsev fizzled under the pressure of a semifinal clash and had a lot of unforced errors which pegged him back in the form where he never managed to recover and impose himself on the Serbian superstar.
Djokovic got the break early in the second set, in fact he broke the Russian twice. He took a 5-1 lead after only 21 minutes into the set. However Karatsev broke back but it was too late as the Serb clinched another set and was now in the ascendency.
Djokovic did not let his chips down as he broke the first game in the third set to keep up the pressure and then he wrapped it up fairly fast winning it 6-2. Karatsev was left stranded in the third set as Djokovic played some flawless tennis and did not allow his opponent to settle and impose himself.
After winning the match, Novak heaped praises on Karatsev on his achievement in this Australian Open. As he said, “Huge congratulations to him, he reached the semifinal of a grand slam on his debut, I don’t think that has ever happened in the history of tennis. Congrats to him, he played a great tournament.”
The Serb also spoke about the second semifinal to be played tomorrow between Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas. He added, “It’s going to be interesting to see them play. It’s always a high-intensity match between the two of them. Both are playing great. I’m going to take the popcorn and enjoy it.”
With this win over Aslan Karatsev Djokovic maintained his record of never losing at a Australian Open semifinal. The Serb will now start favourite in the finals irrespective of the opponents he faces and will have a chance to make it three in a row.