Australian Open semi-finals: Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev
Djokovic* 6-3, 3-1 Karatsev
More perfection from Djokovic as he drills a backhand winner down the line, 40-0.
Karatsev does well to reach a Djokovic drop shot and flick a forehand winner down the line. He then hits a cross-court backhand winner.
And Djokovic holds when Karatsev’s backhand flies wide.
Djokovic 6-3, 2-1 Karatsev*
Karatsev goes wide with a forehand on the opening point. Djokovic then rifles a cross-court backhand pass, 0-30.
Great return by Djokovic and it draws the error from Karatsev. Three break points. The Russian double faults.
Djokovic breaks and takes a commanding lead in the match.
Djokovic* 6-3, 1-1 Karatsev
It has been a while since Karatsev made an impression on Djokovic’s serve and the Serbian holds to 15 again.
Second Set: Djokovic 6-3, 0-1 Karatsev*
Karatsev gets back on track with a love hold.
Djokovic* 6-3 Karatsev
The perfect game from Djokovic as he holds to love. Karatsev started strongly but unsurprisngly Djokovic took charge.
Djokovic 5-3 Karatsev*
Karatsev forehand long and then a backhand long. His first dip of the set and he’s now given Djokovic three break points.
He goes long with another backhand and Djokovic breaks. Djokovic weathered a storm and is now serving for the set.
Djokovic* 4-3 Karatsev
Karatsev is bringing the best out of Djokovic, who is having to defend and counter punch.
The world No 1 holds to 30.
Djokovic 3-3 Karatsev*
A chance for Djokovic as he gets to 0-30. Karatsev ups the ante and gets the backhand error from Djokovic, 15-30.
Then hits a forehand winner after a big serve. A series of big forehands from Karatsev gets him ahead.
And he holds with a drive backhand winner. So impressive from teh Russian.
Djokovic* 3-2 Karatsev
Big Karatsev forehand down the line is too hot for Djokovic, 30-30. Karatsev gets an opening but puts a forehand just wide, 40-30.
A roar from Djokovic as he holds when Karatsev’s backhand return flies long.
Djokovic 2-2 Karatsev*
Karatsev ace, 30-0. Brilliant from the Russian in a cat and mouse battle with Djokovic and he finishes with a volley winner, 40-0.
Djokovic forehand winner down the line, 40-30. Karatsev holds again to maintain his positive start.
Djokovic* 2-1 Karatsev
Djokovic puts a backhand wide on the opening point, 0-15. He responds with two big serves to go 30-15 in front but Karatsev hits a blistering forehand winner on the run, 30-all.
Djokovic ace, 40-30. Karatsev nets a backhand and Djokovic holds.
Djokovic 1-1 Karatsev*
Karatsev gets his first point of the match with a big serve down the T, 15-15.
And he settles into the game nicely with a hold to 15.
First Set: Djokovic* 1-0 Karatsev (*denotes server)
Djokovic holds to love in the opening game. Two aces included as well. Fast start by the world No 1.
The players are out
Djokovic loses the toss but Karatsev put him into serve. Five minute warm-up is underway…
Tim Henman on Karatsev
“It’s an amazing story and you think about the qualifying being played in a different venue in Doha, he was a set all in the first round [of qualifying], and then he has just played incredible tennis.
“He dealt with some difficult moments, he talked about his nerves, he talked about the heat out there, he obviously got a bit of luck with Dimitrov getting injured with the back, but his personality seems very calm, he wants to keep going.
“He’s not getting carried away, it was interesting to hear him talk about the heat, it is pretty hot out there but he’s got time to recover and he’s going to need to because the next match will be a huge, huge one – it’s an impressive run.”
Karatsev’s road to the semis
Djokovic’s road to the semis
A place in the final awaits
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the first men’s semi-final of the Australian Open between Novak Djokovic and Aslan Karatsev.
Djokovic comes into the match as the overwhelming favourite to reach Sunday’s final but Karatsev has enjoyed a dream tournament so far and could pose a challenge to the world No 1.
“I have not seen him play honestly before the Australian Open. I have seen him play during the tournament here, and he impressed me, impressed a lot of people,” Djokovic said ahead of Thursday’s semi-final meeting. “His movement, his firepower from baseline. Flat backhand, Russian school, great backhand. Looks to run around. Also hits some good forehands, dictate the play.
“And he is impressive. I mean, two sets down against Felix coming back. Today as well he was just very solid against Grigor. Unfortunately, and obviously Grigor couldn’t play at his best from the end of that second, beginning of the third.
“But he’s there for a reason, and congratulate him for great success. It’s going to be our first encounter. Hoping I can be physically fit and looking forward to it.
“It’s his first semi-finals of Grand Slam, so obviously for him it’s biggest success he has had so far. As I said, he doesn’t have anything to lose, really. He’s motivated.
“I expect him to come out and really go for his shots and try his best and try to take that win. So I’m sure he’s enjoyed his Australian Open.”
Karatsev has enjoyed a memorable run, coming through qualifying then beating Gianluca Mager, Egor Gerasimov, Diego Schwartzman, Felix Auger Aliassime and Grigor Dimitrov to get through to the last four
The Russian had never got past the third round at a Slam before this tournament having last done so at the French Open last year.
He has also never played any of the ‘Big Three’ of Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
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