Novak Djokovic beats Aslan Karatsev in three sets (6-3 / 6-4 / 6-2) in the first semifinal of the Australian Open 2021 and gains access to the final. The Russian's dream of becoming the first player coming from the qualifiers to reach the last act in a Grand Slam tournament breaks against the world number one.
Thus ends the story of the 27 year old from Moscow, the great revelation of this Australian event, who leaves the tournament with the title of first and only player on his debut in a Grand Slam to reach the semifinal in the Open era.
After a first set without history, easily won 6-3 by Novak Djokovic in just 36 minutes, in the second and third set Aslan Karatsev made things a little more complicated for the most titled opponent by managing to snatch his serve in both halves but having to surrender to the higher class and the great mental strength of the Serbian who on both occasions was able to immediately counter-brek the Russian and get ahead in the score and then close with 6-4 / 6-2.
With this success the Serbian breaks the pass for what will be for him the 28th final of a career Grand Slam, a final that will see him opposed to the winner of the other semifinal, scheduled for tomorrow, in which the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas ("executioner "of Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals) and the Russian Daniil Medvedev currently number four in the ATP ranking.
Final in which Djokovic will go hunting for the 18th triumph in a Grand Slam tournament that would allow him to shorten the distance from record holder Roger Federer, currently stopped at 20. Ben Rothenberg is a name that needs no introduction in the tennis world.
Over the past few years, the New York Times journalist has established himself as one of the foremost voices on all things tennis. As is the norm with journalists, Rothenberg has also divided opinion time and again. Some believe he has his favorites, while others believe he is too harsh on players like Novak Djokovic.
Rothenberg on Novak Djokovic
Moving on to Novak Djokovic, do you think that there is any truth to the assertions of his fans that Western media is biased against the Serb? Or would you say the behavior of his fans on social media and elsewhere is a reason why he is not as loved as Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer? "The most rabid section of the Novak Djokovic fan base, I don't think it does him any favors in terms of popularity, you can say that.
Because they can be incredibly aggressive and off-putting, I guess, in a way that Djokovic himself really isn't. I don't think that Djokovic wants or appreciates that sort of extreme behavior that you can see through some people on Twitter.
I would hope that they would sort of act more in their player's image because their player is always gracious and things like that. Every fan base has had some level of that which has been committed. The Djokovic fan base has been a more committed group of people who have that as a strategy and tactic" - Ben Rothenberg said.