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June 15, 2021
Novak Djokovic powers to Australian Open final after defensive masterclass against grand slam debutant Aslan Karatsev

Novak Djokovic powers to Australian Open final after defensive masterclass against grand slam debutant Aslan Karatsev

The world No. 1 looked impressive on his way to his straight-set 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory on Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.

While Karatsev showed great resolve in his first career grand slam semifinal, Djokovic’s experience and class shone as the Serbian reached his third successive Australian Open final.

Djokovic will face either Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas, who face off on Friday, in Sunday’s final.

The wall

Playing in their first meeting, Djokovic does what he often tends to do when coming up against a new opponent — prioritizing his defense.

Djokovic made just one unforced error in the entire set. If Karatsev looked the Serbian’s equal during the opening games, the world No. 1 eventually capitalized on the eventual mistakes made by Karatsev to break and then hold his serve to take a set lead.

The eight-time Australian Open was in complete control, breaking once again early in the second set to assert his dominance.

Another break extended Djokovic’s lead and although Karatsev broke back to suggest a comeback could be on the cards, Djokovic held off multiple break points to clinch the second set.

Karatsev was broken in his first service game of the third set and 17-time grand slam winner Djokovic went on to comfortably close out the match.

However, after making the semifinals in his first grand slam and showing courage in going up one of the sport’s best, Karatsev can go home with his head held high.

Djokovic will now look to seal an 18th grand slam title and move to within two of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal who jointly lead the way for the most men’s singles grand slams with 20 titles apiece.