The world No.114 knocked out a clearly injured Grigor Dimitrov 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 at Rod Laver Arena. The Bulgarian took medical time out in the third set due to an apparent back injury, but his condition did not appear to improve afterward.
Karatsev, who had previously tried to qualify for nine Grand Slam championships, is only the fifth qualifier to reach the semi-finals of a Grand Slam in the open era with a victory that lasted two 32 hours. Minutes.
“It was really hard for me from the start to keep my nerves up. It was really hard. I tried to find a way to play and then in the third set he felt his back.”
Appearing on the biggest stage of his career so far – Karatsev entered the tournament with just three ATP level wins since 2015 – the 27-year-old Russian perhaps unsurprisingly showed nerves from the start.
He made 19 unforced errors in the first set alone as Dimitrov showed his pedigree – the Bulgarian is a former world No.3 – taking a lead in the first set.
However, in wet conditions, Karatsev began to gain a foothold in the game. Shaking his nerves, Karatsev was keen to enjoy capturing the set 6-4.
It was in the next set that the tide began to turn strongly in the Russian’s favor, as Dimitrov’s physical difficulties began to impact his game.
The world No.18 requested medical time out, but was never fully comfortable for the rest of the game, stretching between points in an attempt to loosen his back.
With the victory, Karatsev set up a meeting against the winner of Tuesday night’s quarterfinal between Novak Djokovic, eight-time Australian Open champion, and fifth seed Alexander Zverev.
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