In the ninth crown campaign at the Australian Open 2021, No.1 seed Novak Djokovic will lock horns with Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev on Thursday. Meanwhile, Defending champion described his next opponent as a solid guy.
After stunning Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in the four sets on Monday, World No.114 Karatsev became the first man in the Open Era to reach the semifinal in the Grand Slam main draw debut.
On the other hand, World No.1 Novak Djokovic reserved his seat at the last four of the Down Under elite tournament following a set down victory over No.6 seed German Alexander Zverev.
When speaking about semifinal opponent, the 17-time Grand Slam winner said, “To be honest, I hadn’t seen (Karatsev) play at all before the Australian Open.”
“Karatsev Has Nothing To Lose”, says Novak Djokovic
A tennis professional from Moscow made his Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open 2021 after defeating Brandon Nakashima, Max Purcell and Alexandre Müller in Doha qualifier rounds.
Djokovic continued, “Of course, I have seen him play during the Australian Open…He is a very strong guy. Physically, he is just very strong. He moves well (and) only has a lot of firepower from the back of the court.”
Karatsev claimed his first top 10 win after stunning No.8 seed and World No.9 Diego Schwartzman last week at Melbourne Park major event.
Russian also ousted the 20th seed Félix Auger-Aliassime after dropping the first two sets and coming back to win in 5 to become the first qualifier to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Bernard Tomic Wimbledon 2011.
“(He has a) great backhand. (He is straight) from the Russian school of tennis, (they) always have great backhands. And He serves well, and he is motivated. He has nothing to lose,” Serbian concluded.
Anyhow, will we see who enters into the championship match the World No.1 or a qualifier?