Djokovic ends Karatsev's golden run, returns to Australian Open final | Inquirer Sports
Close  

Djokovic ends Karatsev’s golden run, returns to Australian Open final

/ 07:40 PM February 18, 2021
Australian Open

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 18, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic shakes hands with Russia’s Aslan Karatsev after winning his semi final match REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

MELBOURNE—Defending champion Novak Djokovic declared himself fighting fit for the Australian Open final after ending the incredible run of Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev with his “best match” of the tournament on Thursday.

The Serbian world number one eased into his ninth decider at Melbourne Park with a 6-3 6-4 6-2 win under the lights at Rod Laver Arena and will battle either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Daniil Medvedev for the title.

ADVERTISEMENT

Djokovic’s tournament appeared on a knife edge when he suffered an abdominal injury during his third round match against Taylor Fritz less than a week ago.

Yet he has put that aside and will have two days off to recover before Sunday’s final.

FEATURED STORIES

“This is the best I felt during the entire tournament,” he told Jim Courier on court.

“Felt great, I could swing through the ball, no pain, just best match so far, and it came at the right time and I’m thrilled to feel this way.

“Recovery is priority right now. I’m feeling the ball well, I’m playing well, I had enough match play, enough practice so right now it’s just gathering all the necessary energy for the most important match of the Australian Open.”

Djokovic has never failed to win the tournament after making the semi-finals and he will be heavily favoured to claim a record-extending ninth title at his favourite Slam on Sunday.

While Karatsev would have been regarded one of Djokovic’s more unlikely semi-final opponents, the world number 114 put up a decent show at Rod Laver Arena as fans returned to Melbourne Park following a five-day lockdown.

He broke Djokovic twice in the match and came back from 5-1 down in the second set to briefly rattle the Serb.

Karatsev saved two set points as Djokovic served at 5-4, and swung freely to prise two break points from the champion.

ADVERTISEMENT

Djokovic fired two huge serves to cancel the threats before sealing the set and took the momentum into the third as he broke Karatsev in the opening game.

Karatsev rallied again to level to 2-2 but a long tournament appeared to take its toll as Djokovic raced away and sealed the match with an ace.

“We need to give him a hand. Huge congratulations to him,” Djokovic said of the 27-year-old Karatsev, who reached the main draw of a major for the first time after failing to qualify at nine previous Grand Slams.

“On his debut he reached semi-finals, I don’t think it’s ever happened in the history of tennis, so well done to him. He played a great tournament.”

Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Aslan Karatsev, Australian Open, Grand Slam, Novak Djokovic
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our sports news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2021 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.