Sports

No. 114 Karatsev makes history with semis berth

MELBOURNE, Australia — Aslan Karatsev by no means had managed to make it into the principle draw of a Grand Slam event. Now he simply refuses to depart the Australian (*114*).

Karatsev, a 27-year-old Russian qualifier who’s ranked 114th, grew to become the primary man within the skilled period to achieve the semifinals of his first main tennis event by beating 18th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 on Tuesday.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Karatsev said. “Of course, it is first time. First time in most important draw, first time semis. It’s unbelievable.”

That’s a reasonably good phrase for what he has managed to do. Karatsev failed in 9 earlier makes an attempt to undergo qualifying rounds to play at a Grand Slam event.

Now he is taking advantage of it, getting previous Dimitrov — a three-time main semifinalist — after additionally eliminating two different seeded gamers, No. 8 Diego Schwartzman and No. 20 Felix Auger-Aliassime.

“It’s great to see. I think it’s great to see,” Dimitrov said about Karatsev’s success. “Surprised? No.”

Up subsequent for Karatsev is world No. 1 and eight-time champion Novak Djokovic, who fended off sixth-seeded Alexander Zverev 6-7 (6), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (6) in an evening match to achieve the Australian (*114*) semifinals for the ninth time.

Bothered by again spasms that developed Monday, Dimitrov was not at his greatest. He completed the match barely in a position to serve — and barely in a position to stroll up the steps as he departed Rod Laver Arena.

Dimitrov took an early lead with three service breaks within the first set. He then held seven break factors in Karatsev’s first two service video games within the second set, however he did not convert any of them.

That’s when Karatsev began to consider he might stretch his already outstanding run even additional.

“It was really tough in the beginning for me to hold my nerves,” Karatsev said. “It was difficult. I attempted to play within the second set, to discover a method methods to play.”

Dimitrov stopped chasing shots in the third set, then was visited by a trainer and took a medical timeout for treatment on a muscle problem around his lower back.

He hadn’t dropped a set in his first four matches at the Australian Open but said he had trouble putting his socks on before the match.

“It began yesterday,” Dimitrov stated, “out of the blue.”

Karatsev is the lowest-ranked man to reach the Australian Open semifinals since Patrick McEnroe, who also was No. 114 in 1991, and is the lowest-ranked man to reach the semifinals at any Slam since Goran Ivanisevic was No. 125 at 2001 Wimbledon.

Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev are meeting in a quarterfinal on the other half of the draw on Wednesday, meaning there’ll be two Russians in the semifinals at Melbourne Park.

Asked for his thoughts on the possibility of an all-Russian final, Karatsev stuck with what he knows.

“I strive not to consider it,” he stated, including that he merely is “going from match to match.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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