‘It’s an unbelievable feeling,’ says history-maker Aslan Karatsev after reaching Australian Open semi-final
Aslan Karatsev became the first Grand Slam debutant in the Open Era to reach the semi-finals after beating an injured Grigor Dimitrov at the Australian Open.
Dimitrov won the first set but became increasingly hampered by a back spasm and during the third and fourth sets was struggling to serve and move around the court.
He persevered to the end but there was no doubt about the outcome as Karatsev continued one of the most remarkable grand slam runs with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 16, 2021
The 27-year-old Russian has plied his trade in the lower reaches of the sport for his whole career, never breaking into the top 100, only to come through qualifying and storm through the draw at Melbourne Park.
Speaking on court, Karatsev said: “It’s an unbelievable feeling. It was really tough at the beginning for me to hold the nerves. I tried to find a way to play in the second set and then in the third set I saw he felt the back.”
At 114 in the world, Karatsev is the lowest-ranked man to reach the semi-finals at a Slam since Goran Ivanisevic won Wimbledon in 2001 while he is only the second qualifier to make the semi-finals in Melbourne after Bob Giltinan in 1977.
His scalps have included Diego Schwartzman, Felix Auger-Aliassime and now Dimitrov and, with both his potential semi-final opponents Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev also dealing with injuries, it is not impossible he could go further.
“I try not to think about (that),” he said with a smile. “I try to play every match, going from match to match.”
ATP boss hails Novak Djokovic after No 1 record, saying feat ‘may stand as his single most impressive’
Andrea Gaudenzi praises Novak Djokovic.
Roger Federer on Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal’s recent feats: ‘What they have done is extraordinary’
Roger Federer full of praise for his two great rivals.
Some notable former Qatar Open champions: From Boris Becker to Novak Djokovic
Oli Jefford on some prestigious names who have won the Qatar Open.
Serena Williams expresses support for ‘selfless friend’ Meghan Markle as she hits out at ‘malicious’ tabloids
“She teaches me every day what it means to be truly noble.”
Novak Djokovic’s ATP Rankings milestones as he reaches 311 weeks at No 1 to surpass Roger Federer’s record
A look at Novak Djokovic’s ATP Rankings milestones.
Notable former Dubai Tennis Championship winners, including Martina Hingis and Justine Henin
A look at the big stars to have won in Dubai.
Diego Schwartzman seals emotional title on home soil in Buenos Aires
Diego Schwartzman crowned Argentina Open champion.
Andrey Rublev’s stunning record in ATP 500 events continues with Rotterdam win
Andrey Rublev continued his run in ATP 500 events .
Roger Federer hopes to return to ‘100 per cent’ fitness in time for Wimbledon
Federer has needed two operations to correct knee issue.
On This Day in 2016: Maria Sharapova reveals positive drugs test
Maria Sharapova was banned from tennis for 15 months.