Eight isn’t sufficient for Novak Djokovic.
The world No.1 continued his love affair with Melbourne Park and might be a heat favorite to win his ninth Australian Open title after bringing to an finish the extraordinary run of Aslan Karatsev within the semi-finals.
Djokovic downed the Russian qualifier 6-3 6-4 6-2 in a single hour and 55 minutes to arrange a title decider with the winner of Friday’s match between Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“That is the very best I felt in the complete match,” mentioned Djokovic who picked up an obvious belly harm within the third spherical.
“I felt nice. That is the very best match to date and it got here on the proper time.”
Outplayed however hardly ever outgunned, world No.114 Karatsev is projected to rise to No.42 after changing into the primary grand slam debutant to make the semi-finals within the Open Period.
It had been a barely plausible run from the muscular Muscovite, profitable via three qualifying matches in Doha and one other 5 in Melbourne to make the final 4.
The ending was maybe predictable however the scoreline didn’t reveal the complete nature of the competition, Karatsev refusing to be bullied by the 17-time grand slam champion.
He went toe-to-toe with Djokovic for a lot of the primary set, catching the world No.1 out on multiple event along with his late shot choice and highly effective forehand.
A break within the eighth recreation was sufficient to seal the set for Djokovic and he put the foot down with two extra within the second.
However the 27-year-old didn’t change into the primary grand slam semi-finalist ranked outdoors the highest 100 in 20 years with out displaying appreciable spine.
He broke again as soon as and held one other break level to deliver the match again on serve however couldn’t fairly pull it off as Djokovic made it two units to love.
The third adopted an identical sample – Djokovic breaking just for Karatsev to manhandle his means again into the competition – earlier than the 33-year-old closed down the match.
Whereas it has been removed from plain crusing for Djokovic – who was injured towards Taylor Fritz in a five-set third spherical, misplaced one other three units and at instances has battled the gang and his personal demons – he’ll be the favorite no matter who he performs within the decider.
He’s already a file eight from eight in Australian Open finals and it’ll take one thing particular to stop it from changing into an ideal 9.