World No. 114 Aslan Karatsev couldn't hide his happiness after reaching the round-of-16 at a Grand Slam event for the first time in his career. Karatsev, who made it past the Australian Open qualifying to earn a place in the main draw, stunned Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-3 6-3 in the third round at Melbourne Park.
Karatsev got off to a quick 3-0 first-set, before serving out for the opener in the ninth game. In the second set, Karatsev claimed two breaks to take a comfortable two-set lead. Schwartzman broke Karatsev in the opening game of the third set but then lost his serve in back-to-back games as the Russian went on to serve out for the match.
"It’s an unbelievable feeling, I qualified so I was already very happy,” Karatsev said, per the ATP website. “I’ve had a lot of worries over the past few years, so I am relieved, overjoyed to be at this stage.
I had a big knee injury a few years ago, so to be here and represent Russia at the ATP Cup last week really gave me confidence”.
Karatsev praised by Schwartzman
Schwartzman, seeded at No. 8, entered the match as the favorite to beat the Russian qualifier.
"He was playing amazing tennis,” said Schwartzman. “I didn't serve well [and] maybe that was one of the keys in the match, because he was really comfortable [hitting] returns… He was doing everything really well, moving well, hitting well, and I was not really comfortable in the match.
I think he deserved to win”. Schwartzman acknowledged that Karatsev dominated the match from the beginning until the end. "I didn't feel really good today. It was a difficult match. He was playing amazing tennis.
Too many winners. I saw 50, I think, hit in the match," Schwartzman added. Karatsev plays next against Felix Auger-Aliassime.