Qualifier world No. 114 Aslan Karatsev received a ton of messages after surprising former world No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov to make the Australian Open semifinal. Dimitrov, ranked at No. 21 in the world, was hampered by a back issue and Karatsev took the full advantage as he won 2-6 6-4 6-1 6-2.
"I've received 200 messages on WhatsApp, probably more now,'' Karatsev revealed, per Tennis Majors. Karatsev won three qualifying matches in Doha before he arrived to Melbourne Park and won five matches as a qualifier.
"I've tried not think about all around, and took it round by round. Of course it's incredible,'' Karatsev said. Karatsev, ranked at No. 114 in the world, has never been ranked higher than world No. 111. "4 months ago I was 160 and something at the ranking.
I wanted to be Top 100 end of 2020. It didn't happen. So my goal was to get into top 100,'' Karatsev revealed.
Karatsev noticed Dimitrov wasn't at his best
After winning the opening set, Dimitrov stood no chance against Karatsev but he didn't want to quit and decided to play through a back injury.
"Having a back's problem... All is directed to this part of the body. Serve, backhand, forehand. A kind of electricty comes on each movement, reaction... But please give him credit for the victory,'' Dimitrov said after the match.
Karatsev claimed he noticed in the third set that Dimitrov was having a problem but he thought it would go away. "I noticed something was wrong with Dimitrov during the 3rd set. I thought he would play normal in the 4th after the medical time-out.
But it didn't happen,'' Karatsev said. "It's hard to stay focused on your game when you plan an injured player. I remember a game on his serve when he was not moving anymore and I gave unforced errors.' '