Australian Open: Qualifier Aslan Karatsev continues historic run

Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev continued his historic run as he beat Grigor Dimitrov to enter the Australian Open semifinals

0
1646
Aslan Karatsev shocked World No 1 Novak Djokovic to reach the Serbia Open final

Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev made history at the Australian Open as he became the first man in the Open Era to reach the semifinals on his Grand Slam debut.

Karatsev overcame an error-filled first set to beat an ailing Grigor Dimitrov 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in two hours and 32 minutes in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

ALSO READ: Abdominal injuries derail Berrettini, Ruud’s run at Australian Open

“It’s an unbelievable feeling. Of course it’s my first time playing [a Grand Slam] main draw, first time [in the] semis,” Karatsev said in his on-court interview. “It’s incredible.”

After the third set, Dimitrov took a medical timeout off court and attempted to battle through an apparent back injury. While the former World No. 3 did not retire, his condition did not improve enough for him to keep the match close in the final two sets.

Aslan Karatsev, who is No. 114 in the ATP Rankings, had previously attempted to qualify for nine Grand Slam championships, falling short each time.

Sharpen your backhand with our FREE guide

In January, he finally broke through in Doha to earn his spot in this Australian Open, and he has made the most of it. The 27-year-old is the fifth qualifier to reach the semifinals of a major in the Open Era.

The last men’s qualifier to make it to a Slam semis was Vladimir Voltchkov, who achieved the feat at 2000 Wimbledon. He is also is the lowest-ranked man to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Goran Ivanisevic (2001 Wimbledon).

ALSO READ: Dominic Thiem crashes out of the Australian Open

Karatsev began this Australian Open with a 3-10 tour-level record. The Russian is 5-0 in this event with the loss of just three sets. Two of those came in the fourth round, when he rallied from a two-set deficit to defeat Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.

He had knocked out World No 9 Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in the third round.

ALSO READ: ‘Let me play!’ Medvedev asks coach to leave arena

Russia is now guaranteed two players in the final four. Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev are set to clash in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Osaka overpowers Hsieh

US Open champion Naomi Osaka overpowered Hsieh Su-wei 6-2, 6-2 on Tuesday to charge into the Australian Open semifinals.

ALSO READ: All-Italian affair turns ugly as Fognini clashes with Caruso

Osaka attacked Hsieh’s weak serve with gusto and the Taiwanese giantkiller quickly wilted under the pressure of her Grand Slam quarter-final debut.

Osaka had a torrid time in her last Australian Open clash against Hsieh in 2019, needing to come back from a set and a break down on the way to claiming the championship.

 

So the Japanese third seed was thrilled with her form against the Taiwanese maverick in a 66-minute clinic.

“Yeah, definitely really happy,” 23-year-old Osaka said on-court.

ALSO SEE: Who’s wearing what at the Australian Open

“Really happy with how I played today. Every time I play her it’s a real battle and, despite the score, this was again a real battle today.”

LEAVE A REPLY