End of the beautiful story for Aslan Karatsev in Melbourne. The 114th player in the world, from qualifying, lost in three sets to defending champion Novak Djokovic (6-3, 6-4, 6-2), who qualifies for the ninth time in the Open final. from Australia.
Karatsev, who had never reached the main round of a Grand Slam, responded well to the world No. 1 early in the game, but “Nole” quickly gained the upper hand, finishing the first set in just 35 minutes. Solid on service (17 aces) and diligent, the Serbian was able to seize the opportunities left by his opponent (six break points out of seven converted and three white breaks). Despite a small relaxation of the world No. 1 at the end of the second set, who gave up his service and offered several chances to the Russian to return to five games everywhere, Djokovic largely dominated the 27-year-old qualifier, committing few faults (14 unforced errors).
Djokovic on his way to his ninth Melbourne title
The lowest ranked player to invite himself to the semi-finals of the Australian Major for thirty years, Karatsev caused a sensation during the Australian fortnight, notably dismissing the No. 8 seed, Diego Schwartzman, and the young Felix Auger-Aliassime (N.20) before winning in the quarterfinals against a Dimitrov (N.18) hit in the lower back. Despite this defeat in the last four, his exceptional career in Melbourne will allow him to enter the top 50, in 42nd place in the world, at the end of the tournament.
Novak Djokovic has reached a Grand Slam final for the 28th time in his career. The eight-time Australian Open winner and title holder has never lost in the final in Melbourne. On Sunday, he will therefore be in full confidence to face Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas and try to clinch his eighteenth in a Major.