WATCH: Novak Djokovic Reacts to Unbelievable Shot by Aslan Karatsev at Australian Open 2021

Published 02/18/2021, 4:37 AM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 10, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during his second round match against Frances Tiafoe of the U.S. REUTERS/Loren Elliott


Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev is making heads turn at Australian Open 2021 with his Cinderella run. The 27-year-old is putting up the performance of a lifetime and has been earning massive applause from the tennis community, and that includes a thumbs-up from Novak Djokovic.

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Karatsev booked a clash with the World No. 1 after getting past Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets. It has been a dream run for the Russian who is making his Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open 2021. 

Novak Djokovic applauds the brilliance of Aslan Karatsev

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Djokovic took on Karatsev in an attempt to make his ninth Australian Open Final, but the Serbian was well aware of the Karatsev challenge. Karatsev has been in red-hot form at Melbourne this year, and he brought it with him to the semi-finals as well. 

Karatsev got off to a dominant start against Djokovic. He didn’t allow the jitters to get to him and displayed a clinical service game to gain momentum against the 33-year-old. The Russian was indeed the underdog, but he didn’t show any signs that made him look like the inferior competitor. 

In fact, Aslan Karatsev earned the praise of Djokovic himself with an incredible point in his second service game. There is no better net player than Djokovic in the men’s game, but Karatsev outsmarted the Serbian by delivering a smooth volley after making him rush to the net. 

Djokovic initially had the upper hand with a drop shot, but Karatsev displayed his athleticism by sending out a beautiful volley to which Djokovic had no answer, other than giving his Russian opponent a gracious thumbs-up! 

The match started off on an equal footing, and Karatsev sent a strong message to Djokovic with his stunning display. 

How Karatsev has struck gold at the Australian Open 2021

Aslan Karatsev’s name was largely unknown until his breakthrough at the Australian Open 2021. This is his maiden Grand Slam appearance, and it is safe to say he’s etched his name in history. 

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Russia’s Aslan Karatsev reacts during his fourth round match against Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

Furthermore, this tournament has also helped Karatsev from a financial aspect. Before the Australian Open 2021, the total prize money Karatsev had earned through singles and doubles was just above $600,000

However, the value is now set to skyrocket and double in amount due to his heroics at Melbourne this year. Even if Karatsev loses to Djokovic, he will make $653,000 for making it till the semis. 

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Hence, the Australian Open 2021 holds massive significance in Karatsev’s career. This is where he took a monumental leap and delivered a performance that will be remembered for years to come.

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Arjun Athreya

1824 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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