NOVAK DJOKOVIC has reached the semi-final stage as he bids for a ninth Australian Open title.
The Serb overcame injury to beat Taylor Fritz in a third round five-setter before recovering to dispense with Milos Raonic.
Djokovic is edging closer to a ninth Australian Open titleCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Djokovic then smashed his racket in the quarter-final against Alexander Zverev but came through to win in four sets.
Standing in his way in the final four is unseeded Russian Aslan Karatsev.
The 27-year-old, who is ranked 114 in the world, stunned Diego Schwarzmann in the third round before beating Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime and an injured Grigor Dimitrov.
What time does Djokovic vs Karatsev start?
- Novak Djokovic takes on Aslan Karatsev on Thursday, February 18.
- The match will start at 8.30am UK time – 7.30pm in Melbourne.
- It will be played at the Rod Laver Arena.
What TV channel is Djokovic vs Karatsev on and can I live stream it?
Head to head
Djokovic and Karatsev have never played each other.
Moreover, the Australian Open champion said he had never even watched the Russian until this tournament.
What they said
Novak Djokovic: “I have not seen him play honestly before Australian Open. I have seen him play during the tournament here, and he impressed me, impressed a lot of people.
“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.”
Aslan Karatsev: “I’m ready for everyone.
“We will see [if I can win the Australian Open]. I mean, how can I say – okay, we will see. Match by match, so yeah.”
Novak Djokovic – 1/14
Aslan Karatsev – 15/2
NOVAK DJOKOVIC V ASLAN KARATSEV
A very good morning and welcome along to SunSport’s coverage of the Australian Open semi-final clash between Novak Djokovic and Aslan Karatsev.
The current world number No1 said he was “feeling more comfortable on the court each year” as he discussed his route to his ninth semi-final at Melbourne Park.
But his quarter final was less than comfortable.
The Serb came from a set down to beat Alexander Zverev 3-1 while nursing abdominal discomfort.
After levelling the match at 1-1, he found himself 4-1 down in the third set and appeared in serious trouble.
The turning point came during a ‘racket smash’ as Djokovic turned into a different player once that frustration was out, going on to win the last two sets 6-4, 7-6.
Despite the early troubles in that match, Novak is odds on for title glory again in this tournament.
But he will have to get past the fairytale story of the championship so far.
Aslan Karatsev has become the first man in the Open Era to reach this stage of the competition on his Grand Slam debut.
The Russian had to come through qualifiers to get into the tournament and has gone from strength to strength since.
This was his tenth attempt at reaching a Grand Slam, too.
Karatsev was No.253 in the FedEx rankings if his first Challenger Tour event following the shutdown due to coronavirus.
Now at 114th, he is projected to be in the top 50 for the first time, with an opportunity to get into the top 30 with a win this morning.
All to play for then and we get under way in Melbourne at 8;30am UK time as we continue our build-up now.
Load more entries…
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.