Aslan Karatsev continued the sensational start to the 2021 ATP Tour season on Saturday when he beat Lloyd Harris 6-3, 6-2 to claim his maiden ATP Tour title at the Dubai Open.
The 27-year-old ripped 27 winners and saved the two break points he faced to become the third Russian champion on the ATP Tour this season.
Karatsev started this season with a 3-10 record at tour-level. The 6’1” right-hander, who reached the Australian Open semi-finals as a qualifier last month, has compiled a 12-2 record this year.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic (Australian Open) and World No. 4 Dominic Thiem (Doha) are the only two players to have defeated the Russian in 2021.
On Monday, the Russian is expected to reach a new career high of 27 in the ATP rankings. Karatsev was ranked 112 when the season began.
“You never know when [success] is coming,” said Karatsev. “I did a good job with my team, with my coach and it has happened now.”
With this victory, Aslan Karatsev will break the Top 30 of the FedEx ATP rankings on Monday 🙌
This time last year he was ranked 263 🤯 pic.twitter.com/RnfNDkYE9o
— ATP Tour (@atptour) March 20, 2021
Aslan Karatsev has solidified his place in fifth position in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin. Daniil Medvedev (second) and Andrey Rublev (third) also feature in the Top 5 qualification positions for the Nitto ATP Finals.
“At the beginning of the year, [I was happy] to play an Australian Open semi-final [and] to show a great level,” he said.
“After the Australian Open, I kept going, practising hard… I arrived here with more belief than in Doha. I showed a fantastic week and a good game.”
The World No. 42 is the third wild card to win this ATP 500 event.
Karatsev, who beat four seeded players en route to the final, joins Wayne Ferreira (1995) and Thomas Muster (1997) in the exclusive club.
The final between Karatsev and Harris was also the first meeting between a qualifier and a wild card on the ATP Tour since [WC] Fabio Fognini beat [Q] Yannick Hanfmann in the 2017 Swiss Open Gstaad championship match.
Zverev wins in Mexico
Alexander Zverev edged past Stefanos Tsitsipas in a thrilling final to claim his 14th ATP Tour title in Acapulco.
Zverev turned around an early break in the first set and had to save a set point at 5-6 in the second set, but he stayed cool to move past Tsitsipas 6-4, 7-6(3) after two hours and 19 minutes.
Tsitsipas and Zverev were contesting Acapulco’s first final between the top two seeds since 2015, when No. 2 David Ferrer defeated No. 1 Kei Nishikori 6-3, 7-5.
Second seed Zverev repeated the pattern for No. 2 seeds to improve to 2-5 in his ATP Head2Head record against Tsitsipas.