INCREDIBLE: Aslan Karatsev Jumps 266 Spots and Breaks into Top-30 After Clinching ATP Dubai 2021 Crown

Published 03/20/2021, 2:41 PM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Russia’s Aslan Karatsev in action during his fourth round match against Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime REUTERS/Kelly Defina


Coming into this year’s Australian Open as a qualifier, Aslan Karatsev surpassed all expectations with an incredible run to the semi-final.

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What’s more, it took no less than the top-seed and eventual champion, Novak Djokovic, to put an end to a fairytale campaign that saw the Russian upset three players ranked inside the Top-20.

Aslan Karatsev joins elite company featuring the likes of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic

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If Melbourne Park was the theatre of dreams for this unheralded Russian, Dubai turned out to be the stage for him to realize the first of many goals in what is shaping up to be a hugely promising career.

The 27-year-old routed rising South African star Lloyd Harris to lift his maiden Tour title at the Dubai Open on Saturday.

Just to put his incredible title-run into context, Felix Auger-Aliassime, one of the Top-20 players he upset on his way to reaching the last-four at the Australian Open, is yet to win his first title on Tour despite playing seven finals.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 16, 2021, Russia’s Aslan Karatsev celebrates winning his quarter final match against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov REUTERS/Kelly Defina

Not only did the Russian take hold of the trophy playing his first Tour final, but he also joined an elite complement of players who have lifted the Dubai title in previous years.

The previous winners include 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2019; World Number 1 Novak Djokovic in 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2020; three-time Major title winner Stan Wawrinka in 2016; two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray in 2017 and Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in 2018.

Aslan Karatsev ended compatriot Andrey Rublev’s dream ATP 500 run with an upset victory in Dubai semi-final

Placed at a distant 293 in singles back in January 2020, Karatsev steadily worked his way up the rankings before his giant-killing run at the Australian Open saw him take a quantum leap to the 42nd place.

Now, his maiden Tour title will bring him inside the Top-30, 27th to be precise, when the rankings for March 2020 come out.

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His run to the Dubai title was nothing short of extraordinary as he fought past the likes of Englishman Dan Evans, last year’s Vienna finalist Lorenzo Sonego, rising Italian star Jannik Sinner and compatriot Andrey Rublev in the semi-final.

Rublev was easily his biggest scalp in the tournament, as he had won four straight ATP 500 titles and was gunning for his fifth in Dubai.

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“Not Losing to People Behind Me”: Aslan Karatsev Clinches His Maiden ATP Title in Dubai

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The defeat also ended his remarkable unbeaten streak of 23 matches at ATP 500 events, falling short of Federer’s mark of 28.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

830 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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