Aslan Karatsev continues to steal the hearts of the tennis world as the world No. 114 has advanced to the Australian Open quarter-finals in his debut Grand Slam tournament.
As Karatsev looks to continue his historic run, Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev will look to inch closer to their first Grand Slam titles, while Novak Djokovic continues his quest for a ninth Australian Open championship.
Grigor Dimitrov (18) vs Aslan Karatsev – Not Before 11PM ET @ Rod Laver Arena
The fairytale has continued for Aslan Karatsev, as the world No. 114 has advanced to the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park after defeating a second top 20 ranked opponent in his debut Grand Slam tournament.
Trailing two sets to love early in his fourth round match against world No. 20 Felix Auger Aliassime, Karatsev remarkably turned the match on its head, winning the next three sets to claim a 3-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 victory.
FROM QUALIFYING TO QUARTER-FINALS 🙌
— ATP Tour (@atptour) February 14, 2021
Karatsev is now the first Grand Slam tournament debutant to reach the quarter-finals since 1996. World No. 21 Grigor Dimitrov will face the challenge of derailing the Karatsev fairytale, while also looking to advance to semifinals at a Grand Slam for just the fourth time in his career.
Dimitrov is yet to drop a set so far this tournament and has taken some big scalps in the process, defeating world No. 43 Marin Cilic, Australian local Alex Bolt, world No. 16 Pablo Carreno Busta and most recently and impressively world No. 3 Dominic Thiem.
While Dimitorv has been a solid player on the tour for years, the 18th seeds 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 victory over Thiem is arguably the biggest upset of the tournament so far.
Although he has ultimately failed to live up to the lofty expectations that he earned earlier in his career, Dimitorv has shown that he is capable of competing with and beating the best players in the world.
When coming up against what many believe is the best second serve in tennis, Dimitrov won more than 60% of the points on Thiem’s second serve in their fourth round match, with the combination of a powerful forehand return and a backhand that varies in length, pace and topspin.
Dimitrov will need to keep Karatsev deep in the court on Monday as the world No. 114 has proved to be proficient at the net, having won 20 of his 25 fourth round net points.
Having just comfortably defeated Dominic Thiem, it is clear that Dimitrov is in some seriously good form and although the Karatsev journey has been one for the ages, it will likely come to a close in the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park on Monday.
Head to Head – Grigor Dimitrov (-225)
Games Spread – Grigor Dimitrov -3.5 (-125)
Sets Handicap – Aslan Karatsev +2.5 (-325)
Novak Djokovic (1) vs Alexander Zverev (6) – From 3AM ET Tuesday @ Rod Laver Arena
Following his four set fourth round victory over Milos Raonic that advanced him into a 12th Australian Open quarter-finals, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic said the following in reference to his injured abdominal muscle. “As I said on the court, if I’m part of any other tournament other than a grand slam, I definitely wouldn’t be playing”.
Djokovic looked to be moving well against Raonic, registering his 12th career victory over the Canadian in a match that the No. 1 seed had not committed to until “a few hours” before their scheduled start.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) February 14, 2021
If the eight time Australian Open champion can play at a similar level on Tuesday morning, then he has a shot to beat the in form Alexander Zverev, who advanced to the Australian Open quarter-finals for the second consecutive year after another straight sets victory.
As the result of his 6-4, 7-6, 6-3 victory over Dusan Lajovic, Zverev has now won 12 consecutive sets at Melbourne Park since dropping the opening set of his first round clash in a tiebreak.
This mouthwatering matchup will be the eighth installment of the Djokovic vs Zverev head to head, with the world No. 1 currently holding a 5-2 lead. Their most recent encounter came at the ATP Cup last month, in a match that saw Djokovic win 6-7, 6-2, 7-5.
Given Zverev’s recent improvement and form as well as the Djokovic injury, the gap between these two stars has shrunk and Zverev should consider himself a real chance of upsetting the tournament favorite.
However, based on what we saw in his victory over Raonic, the assumption would be that Djokovic will be fit and able for this quarter-finals matchup, which would make the world No. 1 the deserved favorite and likely winner for this match.
Head to Head – Novak Djokovic (-225)
Games Spread – Novak Djokovic -3.5 (-115)
Sets Handicap – Alexander Zverev +2.5 (-325)
We’ve got 14 days of hard core tennis action, so strap yourself in!
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