Russia's Aslan Karatsev became the first man in the open era to enter the semi-finals of a Grand slam event on debut. The Russian defeated 18th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 on Tuesday to reach the semis of Australian Open 2021. It has been an incredible feat for a player who had failed nine times to qualify for the majors. Karatsev called the feeling incredible after qualifying for the top four in his maiden Grand slam event. "It's an unbelievable feeling. Of course, it's the first time. First time in main draw. First time semis. It's incredible," the 27-year-old Karatsev said in the post-match interview. Australian Open 2021: Naomi Osaka Crushes Su-Wei Hsieh, Sails into Semi-Finals.
A previous semi-finalist of Australian Open, Dimitrov started off the game well by earning a lead in the three service breaks of the first Test. However, the Russian made a terrific bounce back in the second set, and the tables were turned. He pushed Dimitrov on the back foot and went on to win the clash. "It was really tough in the beginning for me, to hold my nerves. It was tricky. I tried to play in the second set, to find a way how to play. In the third set ... played better," Karatsev said.
Karatsev In Final Four!!
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 16, 2021
Notably, Dimitrov played this game with a muscle injury and that could have been one of the reason behind his downfall. He even stopped chasing shots in the third set and, at the last changeover, asked to see the trainer.
However, nothing can be taken away from Karatsev who defied all the odds in his maiden event. He's the also lowest-ranked man to reach the Australian Open semi-finals since No. 114 Patrick McEnroe in 1991. Karatsev will now play either defending champion Novak Djokovic or Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 16, 2021 01:35 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).