Were it not for Novak Djokovic's triumph at the Australian Open, Aslan Karatsev would be by far the symbolic face of this early 2021. After shocking everyone by reaching the semi-finals at Melbourne Park (his first ever participation in the main draw of a Grand Slam ), the Russian won his first career title in Dubai thanks to a simply devastating ride.
To pay for it were mainly Jannik Sinner, Andrey Rublev and Lloyd Harris, who scrapped up the crumbs in the final despite having proved to be in great shape in the previous days. In a press conference following his success in the United Arab Emirates, Karatsev admitted that he was honored to see his name in the Dubai Open's roll of honor, a tournament that also saw legends such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic win.
The Swiss has a record of eight seals, the last of which dates back to 2019, while the Serbian has lifted the trophy on five occasions. Nadal only prevailed in 2006, before signing an agreement with his 'twin' Acapulco.
Aslan Karatsev on his meteoric rise
"Yeah of course, I'm super happy to win these kind of tournaments specially ATP 500s, specially here in Dubai," Aslan Karatsev said. "Of course with big names like that, you feel privileged yourself, and with your performance.
I'm really happy with my game this week, so I'm happy." The Big 3 have had their fair share of success in the Middle-Eastern city. Roger Federer is a record-eight time champion at the ATP 500 event, having last won the title in Dubai in 2019.
And Novak Djokovic is not far behind, having reigned supreme at the 500-level event five times in his career. Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, has not participated at the Dubai event as frequently as his other two rivals. That said, the Spaniard won his lone title at Dubai 2006, when he defeated then World No.
1 Roger Federer in the final. "Yeah I'm really happy to go close to the top players," Aslan Karatsev said. "You have more motivation when you see these young players playing really fantastic tennis. Medvedev is No.
2, he's (Rublev) No. 8. So you're always looking forward to play better, so you can improve." Credit has to be given to Harris for navigating the tough draw of ATP Dubai. But Karatsev was in full form, thus the South African had no chance.
The first set was where there was a little fight. Initially, Karatsev was troubled on his serve but as the set went on, the Russian grew upwards. He kept firing in winners to derail Harris.