An ace to conclude a real recital. Without trembling, more authoritative than ever, Novak Djokovic dominated in three speedy sets (6-3, 6-4, 6-2), Thursday, the Russian Aslan Karatsev in the first semi-final of the Australian Open .
Unfortunately for the approximately 7,500 spectators allowed to return to the Rod Laver Arena, the duel came to an end. Despite a small alert in the second set, the “Djoker”, who became the second player to exceed the threshold of 300 wins in Major after Roger Federer, perfectly mastered his subject and put his claw on the meeting. He no longer seems handicapped by abdominal pain that bothered him at the start of the tournament. “I feel great, it’s my best game so far,” said the winner. I am very happy to feel pain free. “
Thanks to this success, the Serbian is invited for the 9th time, since 2008, in the final of the Southern Grand Slam. A record! He never lost when he reached this stage of the competition. He will therefore seek a 9 titles in Australia – a record – and an 18th Grand Slam coronation, which will allow him to get a little closer to his two rivals in the ranking of Major holders (20 titles for Federer and Nadal).
Karatsev’s exceptional journey for his first Grand Slam
If the adventure continues for Djokovic, the fairy tale stops abruptly for Karatsev. Coming from the qualifications and surprise guest of the last four, the Russian had become the darling of the public. “I would like to congratulate Aslan for his career, he had a great tournament” greeted Djokovic after the match.
“AK” had become the first player in the Open era (since 1968) to reach the last four in his first Grand Slam. He is also the lowest ranked player to be invited to the semi-finals in Melbourne for thirty years and Patrick McEnroe (then No. 114), in 1991. A journey that will allow him to reach 49th in the world in the next ranking ATP.
For the Serbian, whom fans love to hate, this year 2021 could be the year of all superlatives. Since Rafael Nadal’s defeat against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Wednesday in the quarter-finals, the “Djoker” is indeed guaranteed to keep his world number 1 seat until March 8, which will make him 311 weeks at the top of the world hierarchy. . He will thus dethrone Roger Federer, who was the boss of the world circuit for 310 weeks in total.
In the final on Sunday, the Serbian will face the winner of the hitting duel between the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas and the Russian Daniil Medvedev. “I will take some popcorn and watch, I have no preference,” assures the Serbian.