Novak Djokovic defeated Aslan Karatsev in the first semifinal of the 2021 Australian Open, making only 14 unforced errors and breaking the pass for his ninth final at Melbourne Park. Although his opponent was playing the best tournament of his entire career, the number 1 in the world gave him no chance by reiterating that he is still the player to beat.
The Serbian phenomenon will meet Daniil Medvedev on Sunday, with the opportunity to showcase his 18th Major (and shorten the gap that separates him from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal). For the 33-year-old from Belgrade, this would be the third consecutive success in the Happy Slam, after the successes in 2019 against Rafael Nadal and in 2020 against Dominic Thiem.
Speaking on Eurosport, former Swedish champion Mats Wilander pointed out that Nole is in top form right now. Evidently, Djokovic’s abdominal injury in the third round has been completely resolved, good news for the final.
Wilander on Novak Djokovic
"He (Novak Djokovic) looked very fresh and very focused, particularly for playing someone ranked so low who was there for the first time," Mats Wilander said. "It most probably has more to do with himself and feeling much better.
He knows he can see the finish line on Sunday and he will be tough to beat now. There is no weakness there at all, he is serving big on the big points and that is what he will take away from this most," Wilander added.
"He is able to serve aces on some break points, and that is a Djokovic we never really talk about. You could not tell at all today (that Djokovic has been injured)," Wilander said. "Not once did I think that he was injured just a few days ago."
Tim Henman concurred with Mats Wilander about Novak Djokovic's level, while also lauding the Serb's mental approach to the match against Aslan Karatsev. "Djokovic's intensity was a real sign of respect for his opponent," Henman noted.
"Obviously Karatsev had caused some upsets and Djokovic wanted to make sure he wasn't going to be one of those. Djokovic really grabbed the match by the scruff of the neck," Henman added. "He was just not making unforced errors from the back of the court and he really stamped his authority on the match because Karatsev started pretty well for his first semifinal."
The World No.1 has equaled his great rival Rafael Nadal on the list for the most Grand Slam finals. They both have 28 and the only one ahead of them is Swiss Maestro Roger Federer with 31.