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Australian Open 2021 Semi Final, Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev HIGHLIGHTS: Djokovic Reaches 9th Final with Win over Karatsev

News18 Sports | February 18, 2021, 16:17 IST
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Australian Open 2021 Semi-Final, Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev HIGHLIGHTS: Novak Djokovic beat Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev  6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 53 minutes to reach his ninth final in of the Australian Open. He will now face the winner of the second men's singles semi-final between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev.

Through the tournament, Djokovic has spoken about the abdominal injury that has hampered his movement but the Serb looked his best so far in the tournament and played an incredibly consistent game to get this easy victory.
Feb 18, 2021 16:17 (IST)

Here is what Novak Djokovic said in the on-court interview:

"We need to give him a hand. Huge congratulations for reaching the semi-finals and making history. Well done to him.

"This is the best I have felt in the entire tournament. I feel great, could swing through the ball, no pain, came at the right time. I am thrilled to feel this way.

"I have two days now, I will talk to team. I will definitely train one of the two days and probably closer to the final. Recovery is important though, I feel much better so we'll see.

"I actually did watch it, midway third set. Stefanos did incredibly well to hand on, Rafa was playing very well. But he managed to turn it around incredibly. It was probably the best match of the tournament, high level. Speaking of high level, Medvedev is the guy, he has been playing at such a high level. It will be a great match-up, will take the popcorn and watch the semi-final.

"I have zero preference (of who makes the final)."

Feb 18, 2021 16:13 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: And he seals it with an ace. Easy last service hold for Novak Djokovic and with that he beat Aslan Karatsev 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to reach his ninth final in Melbourne. What injury? Nothing stops the Serb!

Djokovic 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 Karatsev

Feb 18, 2021 16:08 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Djokovic brings up another break point on Karatsev's serve and with an error from the Russia, Djokovic gets a double break in the third set. He lets out a roar out getting that break. Djokovic will now be serving to make the final.

Djokovic  6-3, 6-4, 5-2* Karatsev

Feb 18, 2021 16:06 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Not too much trouble for Djokovic there as he holds his serve for a 4-2 lead in the third set. He is now only two games away from another Australian Open final. He raises his fist in celebration after taking that game.

Djokovic 6-3, 6-4, 4-2* Karatsev 

Feb 18, 2021 15:58 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Djokovic is being made to work hard for his points as Karatsev is a man possessed, reaching every shot and returning. The Serb leads 30-15. Down the line from the Russian hits the net post and Djoko breaks Karatsev's serve again. 
 
Djokovic* 3-2 Karatsev

Feb 18, 2021 15:54 (IST)

MEANWHILE.....

Feb 18, 2021 15:53 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Djokovic gets the first point and then hits one long to make it 15-15 for Karatsev. The Russian is not one to throw in the towel. He fights on. He leads 15- 40 with another shot going wide from Djoko. Karatsev breaks back

Djokovic 2-2 Karatsev*

Feb 18, 2021 15:48 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Karatsev is not giving up and he is running and running to get to every shot played by Djokovic. He gets to a 30-0 lead. An unforced error from Djoko means he is up 40-0. With an ace, he holds serve. 

Djokovic* 2-1 Karatsev

Feb 18, 2021 15:46 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Djokovic holds serve comfortably. Karatsev is finding it increasingly tougher to staying the match. 

Djokovic 2-0 Karatsev*

Feb 18, 2021 15:44 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Djokovic races to a 40-0 lead only for Karatsev to hit back and get a foot in. But Djoko breaks the Russian's first serve. 

Djokovic* 1-0 Karatsev

Feb 18, 2021 15:38 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Djokovic starts with an ace. Karatsev hits long and the Serbian leads 30-0. He hits on into the net and Karatsev makes it 30-15. With a powerful forearm means Karatsev slices wide and he gets ahead 40-15. He hits another one long and it is 40-30. A good rally and Djoko is the first to blink. Deuce. Wide from Djoko and Karatsev has the advantage. But Djoko as a few aces up his sleeve. Unlucky bounce at the net and the Russian has the advantage back. The answer is another ace. Deuce. And Djoko gets the advantage as Karatsev hits long. The Serb is fired up as he takes the second set.

Djokovic 6-4 Karatsev

Feb 18, 2021 15:28 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Only a 4th unforced error means Karatsev is level at 15-15. Another fortunate bounce from Djoko and the Serb is ahead 30-15. What a serve and it is 30-30. The Russian is not giving in so easily. And he gets ahead with good movement at the net. 40-30. A well-placed shot from Djoko and it is deuce again. An ace and Karatsev has the advantage and holds serve to make the world number wait again. 

Djokovic* 5-4 Karatsev

Feb 18, 2021 15:23 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: After Karatsev takes the oping point, Djokovic was back in command with an unforced error from teh Russian. Serve and volley, means 30-15 lead. Not perfect tough as he tries the same again, he hit out. 30-30. Double fault from Djokovic nd Karatsev can break back. But the Russian misses it and it is the first deuce of the match. Brilliant down the line return from Karatsev and he has the advantage. An unforced error from Djoko means Karatsev breaks back!

Djokovic 5-3 Karatsev*

Feb 18, 2021 15:16 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Cheeky from Djokovic to hit it at the net cross-court without even looking. Karatsev serves force Djoko to hit long and he takes the lead with a beautiful serve and volley. The Russian finally manages to hold his serve again but the damage has been done. at least for this set. The Serb will be serving for the second set. 

Djokovic* 5-2 Karatsev

Feb 18, 2021 15:13 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Serve and volley. Easy for Djokovic. Karatsev suddenly seems a lesser player but the world number 1 appears to have taken his game to another level. He takes it at love. 

Djokovic 5-1 Karatsev*

Feb 18, 2021 15:10 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Djokovic is not going to make this match last long, he races to  30-0 lead. Karatsev suddenly looks dishevelled and misses another return. Djoko breaks the Russian's serve again wit ha lucky net bounce of his own. 

Djokovic* 4-1 Karatsev

Feb 18, 2021 15:08 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Djokovic starts with an ace and then Karatsev hits long on the service return to make it 30-0. Easy down the line winner means he i 40-0 up and looking comfortable. The Russian gets a lucky bounce on the net and gets back to 15-40. With a superb backhand winner, he gets it to 30-40. After a rally, Karatsev hits wide as Djokovic holds serve.

Djokovic 3-1 Karatsev*

Feb 18, 2021 15:03 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: What tennis from Djokovic as he hits an impossible (as it looked) backhand return crosscourt to get ahead 0-30and with another mistake from Karatsev he makes it 0-40. The Serb breaks serve with a double fault the Russian. 

Djokovic* 2-1 Karatsev

Feb 18, 2021 15:01 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Djokovic is smashing the ball hard and races ahead to 30-0 against Karatsev. He fights back with a terrific volley smash to make it 30-15 but a long return means he went behind 40-15. Djokovic holds serve.  

Djokovic 1-1 Karatsev*

Feb 18, 2021 14:57 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Karatsev is not giving up the fight to early. He fights back to make it 15-0 in the first game of the second set. and then 30-0. With an ace he holds with 40-0. 

Djokovic* 0-1 Karatsev

Feb 18, 2021 14:53 (IST)
 

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Djokovic looks like he has settled down into the match quite confortably as Karatsev trails 30-0. An ace means Djokoco is 40-0 up and wraps upth first set with another!

Djokovic 6-3 Karatsev  

Feb 18, 2021 14:50 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Karatsev tried to serve and volley but Djoko counters well to get ahead 0-15. The Russian hits long with a rather lay shot on the topspin as the world number 1 leads 0-30. Another winner is wide on the cross-court backhand and he trails 0-40. And Karatsev'sserve is broken!

Djokovic* 5-3 Karatsev

Feb 18, 2021 14:45 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Who is going to blink first? Not Djokovic up until now...

Djokovic 4-3 Karatsev*

Feb 18, 2021 14:42 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Karatsev double faults on his serve and then a long shot means Djokovic isup 0-30. Djokovic hits long on the back-hand return to make it 15-30. The Russian fools Djko and hits a cross-court winner to level it. With a powerful deep-court forehand gives him the lead and then finishes it off with a commanding cross-court backhand to hold serve. 

Djokovic* 3-3 Karatsev

Feb 18, 2021 14:36 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Djokovic races to a 30-0 lead but Karatsev is not giving in so easily. With longer rallies and safe shots he fights back to make it 30-30. A return on the second serve from Djoko went wide and then a long return means he holds serve.

Djokovic 3-2 Karatsev*

Feb 18, 2021 14:31 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Two amazing serves means Karatsev takes a 30-0 lead against Djokovic and unforced error Karatsev to hold serve. Brilliant net play from a stretching Karatsev's return was in and he was40-0 up only for Djokovic to get a foot in. Another down the line winner helps Djoko to make it 30-40. But  Karatsev holds on to his service with a good serve and volley. 

Djokovic* 2-2 Karatsev

Feb 18, 2021 14:26 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Karatsev forces and unforced error to get ahead but Djokovic hits back with back-to-back points to get his nose ahead. Karatsev hits a delicious cross-court return to level things only for an ace and from Djokovic and unforced error Karatsev to hold serve.

Djokovic 2-1 Karatsev*

Feb 18, 2021 14:22 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: After Djokovic took the first point, Karatsev hits back with powerul serves down the middle to gain 30-15. Another unfrced fault on the return from the world number 1 means the Russian is 40-15 up and holds serve with a long return from Djoko

Djokovic* 1-1 Karatsev

Feb 18, 2021 14:18 (IST)

Australian Open Men's Singles Semi-final - Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev: Karatsev hits long on Djokovic's serve starting off the semifinal and then hits the net on the return on the second serve. The third is an ace and the fourth also the same takes the first game 40-0. 

Djokovic 1-0 Karatsev*

Feb 18, 2021 13:59 (IST)

Lets Go! - Time for Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev!!

This is the first time these two are meeting!

Australian Open 2021 Semi Final, Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev HIGHLIGHTS: Djokovic Reaches 9th Final with Win over Karatsev
Novak Djokovic (Photo Credit: Australian Open Twitter)

Karatsev made history by becoming the first man in Open Era to reach the semi-final on his Grand Slam debut but he couldn't go further as Djokovic kept things very tight and Karatsev struggled to keep hold of his serves even when he managed to break Djokovic's a couple of times.

After the match, Djokovic congratulated Karatsev and said, "We need to give him a hand. Huge congratulations for reaching the semi-finals and making history. Well done to him."

He further stated that today was the best he has felt all tournament and he will see if he can practice at least one of the two next days, something he has been avoiding to protect the injury.

He said he was looking forward to the other semi-final and that "it will be a great match-up, will take the popcorn and watch the semi-final."

Ahead of the final, Djokovic had said that he hadn't seen Karatsev at all before the Australian Open.

"He's impressed a lot of people with his movement and firepower from the baseline," said Djokovic -- who is trying to win major number 18 -- of an opponent who has only played 18 Grand Slam sets.

"He has a flat backhand, Russian school. Great backhand. Looks to run around and also hits some good forehands to dictate the play," added Djokovic. "He doesn't have anything to lose, really. He's motivated."

Karatsev is guaranteed to rise into the world's top 50 after becoming the first man in the Open era to reach a semi-final on his Grand Slam debut, and just the second qualifier to do so at the Australian Open after Bob Giltinan in 1977. He was also the lowest-ranked man to make the semis at a Slam since Goran Ivanisevic was ranked 125 at Wimbledon in 2001.

The pair had never played before, with Djokovic admitting he knew little of journeyman Karatsev. However, he had said that he expected the Russian to come out, go for his shots and try his best. Well, Karatsev surely did try!