After so many days of suffering, who started early, in the second round against Tiafoe, took on dramatic overtones in the third when he brushed the withdrawal against Fritz, and were not placid with their commitments against Raonic and Zverev, Novak Djokovic had the semi-final anyone would have dreamed of. He was touched by a sweet expert, Alsan Karatsev, whom he mercilessly swept in three sets (6-3, 6-4 and 6-2) and just one hour and 53 minutes, doing nothing of the other world, beyond serving well (17 aces) and committing few unforced errors (14). Although for him it was “the best game” of his in the championship.
As much as the 27th and 114th Russian in the world was the great revelation of the tournament, the first Grand Slams debutant to reach a semi-final at the Open Era after eliminating Schwartzman, Auger-Aliassime and an injured Dimitrov, the truth is that it did not give enough level to disturb the number one in the world, who will play his ninth final at the Australian Open, 24th among all majors. It is the first to reach three there with more than 30 years since 1968. It will be on Sunday against the winner of the duel that takes place on Friday (09:30, Eurosport) between Medvedev and Tsitsipas. “What Stefanos did against Rafa (Nadal) is incredible, probably in the best match of the tournament and Daniil is the man in recent months and he has already played a very long final at the US Open. I'll get the popcorn and watch their battle. I wish you guys enjoy it, ”he said of his potential rivals.
The story is on the side of Djokovic who has won in his previous eight title matches in Melbourne, the last two in a row. The Balkan is going through a wonderful streak that has led him to win 15 of the last 16 semifinals he has played in major tournaments, with a single failure in the one he lost against Thiem at Roland Garros 2019. He had never lost to a player from the previous one. and he did not fail against Karatsev (20-0 now), who had a good beating over eight games, including the comeback against Aliassime in five sets. The man had his moment of glory when in the second set, with 5-1 against, he had the chance to beat Djokovic three games in a row and even have two break points to match. But the serve again rescued Nole in his worst moments, who roared like a demon when the set closed, to the delight of the public, who was able to return to the Rod Laver Arena.
There the rebellion of his rival did not end, that until that strange turn in the game, which did not reach 180 degrees, had conceded six blank games, three of them with his service. In the third set, which was opened with Novak's break, Alsan broke his serve again and leveled the set (2-2). But he alternated good shots with big errors (up to 30) and was again below the scoreboard. There were no more distractions from a Djokovic who, against the heat and abdominal problems, is already where he wanted: in the final, closer to closing the gap in the race for historic hegemony with Nadal and Federer. Karatsev leaves Australia with 720 points that give him a rise of 72 places in the ranking, up to 42, and with more money than he had ever made in his entire career ($ 850,000, € 704,331). All happy.
Schedule and results.