Karatsev entered the semi-finals on his first visit to the Grand Slam

Karatsev entered the semi-finals on his first visit to the Grand Slam


Lower Grigor Dimitrov 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in Australia Open on February 16, Aslan Karatsev became the first player to reach the semi-finals in the first Grand Slam.

Just like the 3-2 win over Felix Auger-Aliassime in the previous round, Karatsev did not enter well in the quarter-finals at the Rod Laver Arena. But after making 19 mistakes and losing the first set 2-6, the world number 114 player struggled and won the second set 6-4 after winning the hinge game.

Dimitrov suffered from injury after defeating Dominic Thiem in the fourth round. In the third set, the pain in the back caused the Bulgarian player to be much restricted in serving and moving. He almost dropped the set and lost 1-6. A few minutes of medical care was not enough for Dimitrov to continue to compete with Karatsev at the level he wanted. Former world number three quickly lost set four 2-6, having to watch the opponent win the first ticket to the semi-finals.

Before the tournament, Karatsev had attended the Grand Slam qualification nine times but never made it to the main round. Last January, he finally made his way to the Grand Slam, after winning three Australian Open qualifiers. The 27-year-old was the first to reach the semi-finals in his Grand Slam debut in the Open Era, and the fifth to reach the semi-finals after having to qualify.

Before the tournament, Karatsev only won three out of 13 matches at the ATP Tour.  Photo: AP.

Before the tournament, Karatsev only won three out of 13 matches at the ATP Tour. Image: AP.

Karatsev started his promotion in 2020. When tennis returned from the pandemic, he won 18 of his last 20 games at the Challenger Tour level. In early 2021, he was included in the Russian squad for the ATP Cup, alongside Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev. These three players all reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. With Karatsev winning Dimitrov and Medvedev facing Rublev in the quarterfinals tomorrow, Feb. 17, Russia certainly has two representatives in the Australian Open semi-finals.

On the way to the semi-finals, Karatsev beat Egor Gerasimov 6-0, 6-1, 6-0 in the second round, before eliminating three seeds, Diego Schwartzman, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Grigor Dimitrov. World No. 114 will meet Novak Djokovic or Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals.

Nhan Dat

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