Serbia Open 2021: Novak Djokovic stunned by Aslan Karatsev in semis
Novak Djokovic of Serbia is the reigning world number one, having won 18 Grand Slam titles. He recently participated in the Serbia Open, an ATP 250 series, at his hometown of Belgrade as a part of his clay-court preparations for the upcoming French Open.
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic was stunned by Aslan Karatsev of Russia in the semis of the 2021 Serbia Open, an ATP 250 series, at the Novak Tennis Center in Belgrade. The world number 28 stunned the reigning world number one in a three-setter (7-5, 4-6, 6-4), having saved 23 break points in a thriller.
It was the Russian’s second clash against the Serbian, as both are locked 1-1 following the latest encounter. While Karatsev claimed the opening set, he looked on course for a straight-set win, with a 4-2 lead in the second, only for Djokovic to break back twice.
The deciding set saw nearly the same intensity from both. However, all the Russian needed was a break to go up 4-3, as there was no way back for the Serbian, with Karatsev scoring the maximum points off Djokovic’s second serve return, controlled by regular net points and forehand drive volleys. Meanwhile, Karatsev would take on Matteo Berrettini of Italy (world number 10) in the final on Sunday.
“This is definitely [the biggest win of my career], it’s the World No. 1. I’m really happy; I put everything on the court. The match was long. I’m really happy with my performance today. I stepped on the court to win. I was believing and I said to myself that I would play every ball no matter what. I tried to keep this strategy that we spoke about with the coach. You have to fight for every ball; that was the key to success,” said Karatsev after the win.
“You never like losing at home, that is for sure. It is disappointing. I don’t feel so great now but, at the same time, I have to congratulate Karatsev, who played very bravely. Whenever he needed to come up with the best shots, he did. Congratulations to him. Awesome performance from his side. It is disappointing, finish the week like this at home. I lost to a better player who was just more courageous. He went for his shots at the right time and it worked for him,” said Djokovic.