Novak Djokovic Ends Karatsev’s Australian Open Fairytale To Reach Final - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Ends Karatsev’s Australian Open Fairytale To Reach Final

The world No.1 required less than two hours to book his place in the title match.



Novak Djokovic is through to his 28th Grand Slam final after battling past Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev at the Australian Open.


The world No.1 withstood some impressive shot-making from his rival to prevail 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, in Melbourne Park. Making it the first time he has won a match without dropping a set in the tournament since the first round. Although Djokovic was tested during his latest encounter by the world No.114 who was the first man to reach a Grand Slam semi-final on their debut in the Open Era.

“This is the best I felt in the entire tournament,” said Djokovic, who has been nursing an undisclosed injury in his abdominal region. “I could swing through the ball with no pain. It’s just my best match so far and it came at the right time. I’m thrilled to be feeling this way.”

Prior to the start of the tournament Karatsev posed as one of the most unlikely players to be taking on the reigning champion in the semi-finals. Until now the 27-year-old Russian had never played in the main draw of a Grand Slam but a fairytale run has seen him produce a series of sensational wins in Melbourne. Knocking out three seeded players to become the lowest ranked player to reach the last four of a major since Goran Ivanisevic at the 2001 Wimbledon championships who is coincidentally now part of Djokovic’s coaching time.

“Huge congratulations to him on his (Grand Slam) debut,” the 17-time Grand Slam winner said of his opponent. “To reach the semi-finals I don’t think has ever happened. Well done to him, he played a great tournament.”

Initially it appeared as if Djokovic would have to contend with some more impressive play from the underdog who didn’t show any signs of nerves early on. However, the world No.1 swiftly established his dominance as the match progressed. Djokovic first drew blood eight games in after three consecutive Karatsev errors enabled him to break for a chance to serve the first set out. Something the top seed did with ease after fighting an ace down the centre of the court.

The eight-time champion looked as if he was going to run away with the match after breaking to love twice in the second frame en route to a set and 5-1 lead. However, Karatsev wasn’t going down without a fight as he retrieved one of those breaks after a Djokovic backhand slammed into the net. Prompting cheers from the crowd who were rooting for the underdog. Weathering the storm Karatsev reduced his deficit from 1-5 to 4-5 but still it wasn’t enough. The Serbian was forced to battle harder than before but managed to seal the two-set lead with the help of a deep shot that forced his opponent to return the ball out. Triggering a huge roar of relief from Djokovic.

A case of deja vu occurred in the third set with Djokovic breaking twice in a row to move to a game from victory. However, unlike the middle set he didn’t falter at the crucial moment. Serving for victory, he sealed the win with the help of two aces.

“I’ll train on one of the next two days, probably the one which is the closest to the final,” Djokovic said of his upcoming preparation. “My recovery is a priority right now. I am feeling the ball well, I have enough match play, enough practice and right now it is just about gathering all the necessary energy for the most important match.”

The latest victory has increased Djokovic’s perfect record against qualifiers in Grand Slam’s to 20-0. He has also become the first man in history to reach the Australian Open final three times after turning 30 and ninth overall.

He will next play either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Daniil Medvedev. Two players who he has lost to on multiple occasions but still leads their head-to-head. The other men’s semi-final will take place on Friday.

“It’s going to be interesting to see them play. It is always a high intensity match between them. They are a very good match up and both are playing great,” Djokovic concluded.
“I have a zero preference (on whom I want to play in the final).”


ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more



After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10


By Roberto Ferri

Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”

Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.

But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.

Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.

TOP 20

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A few comments:

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.

Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.

Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.

Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively  at the 2022 US  Open, drop 4 positions.

One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.


From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.

Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.


Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.

Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.

The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.

Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.


The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.

The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.

PositionPlayerCountryPtsYOB ATP rank
6Van AsscheFrance597200469
12Llamas RuizSpain3702002133

Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.


Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.

We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.

The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.

Seyboth Wild76Brazil30

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open



Love him, or hate him. But respect him.


No tennis player has ever been better than Novak Djokovic.

Even Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer have to take their hats off to Novak, and admire him.

Now that Rafa and Roger have left Djokovic on his own stage at least for now, tennis fans love Novak.


Djokovic’s performance on Sunday evening in the U.S. Open final was simply amazing. Daniil Medvedev also played his heart out, but Djokovic went one step further. He was sensational.

It was a thrill-a-minute three-set match. It lasted well into the night after starting at mid-afternoon. The second set alone lasted 104 minutes.

Djokovic was the winner, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3, but New York still loves 2021 champion Medvedev.


At 36, the oldest U.S. Open men’s champion ever, Djokovic obviously has a special place in his heart for the number four. It’s the number of times he has won this tournament and the 24th time he has won a Grand Slam title.

The number 24 also was displayed prominently on the white jacket. Novak, his team members and family wore for the victory celebration as a tribute to the No. 24 jersey of deceased friend Kobe Bryant.

Djokovic lost his footing at least three times in the tight second set, stumbling to the surface once, apparently due to the length of the rallies.

Djokovic could look like he was almost completely wiped out of it physically one minute, and then play like Superman the next minute.


Both men played great tennis, especially in the thrill-a-second second set in which Medvedev gained one set point in the 12th game before Djokovic recovered to force a tiebreaker.

Medvedev appeared to be in charge after out-playing Novak to win one of his drop shots to take a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker. The match may have been decided on the next three points, all won by Djokovic on errors by the 6-6 Russian.

The big question now is what happens next January in the Australian Open. Right now, Djokovic probably wants to play . . . and win what has been his favorite tournament as far as success. But things can change quickly for players in their mid-30s. Just ask Roger or Rafa.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at

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Alcaraz Fell Victim To Unbeatable Medvedev

Carlos Alcaraz was no match for Daniil Medvedev in the US Open semi-finals.



(@RelevantTennis - Twitter)

A star had to fall. There was no other way.


This time, Carlos Alcaraz was the victim. Daniil Medvedev was unbeatable.

The 6-6 Russian was everywhere, playing almost perfect tennis in a 7-6 (3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win over Alcaraz.

So, one former champion went down while one advanced to Sunday’s final at the U.S. Open.

And then there was Novak Djokovic, another former champion headed for the title match.


The U.S. Open couldn’t lose once Djokovic dominated young American Ben Shelton, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4).

Djokovic appeared to be content with just winning while getting the preliminaries over with. He seemed to be a little miffed by Shelton’s cockiness. There were no hugs or embraces when the match ended. Just a handshake.

Shelton has huge potential, but it’s going to take some time before he’s ready to join the likes of Djokovic, Medvedev and Alcaraz. He’s a better athlete than he is tennis player.

Novak is ready to go for a record 24th Grand Slam title.

Believe it or not, Medvedev will be playing in his fifth Grand Slam final.

Sunday should be a great day in Arthur Ashe Stadium, with two former champs, Djokovic and Medvedev, going against each other.


The women’s final will be interesting. Can Coco Gauff compete with Aryna Sabalenka?

Sabalenka looked helpless against Madison Keys’ big strokes and serves in the first set of their semifinal on Thursday.

Sabalenka couldn’t win even one game in that set. She looked helpless.

But she obviously felt all along that she could beat Keys anytime she wanted. Or why else would the powerful Sabalenka go for broke on almost every shot? And it almost cost her.

Amazingly, Sabalenka waited almost to the final moments to decide to play within her game and stop the wildness.

Once Sabalenka decided to settle down and play to win, Keys went just the opposite way, similarly to her one-sided loss to Sloane Stephens in the 2017 U.S. Open final.

Keys appeared ready to win this time as she held a 6-0, 5-4 advantage over new world’s No. 1 Sabalenka, who seemed to be stumbling all over the court as she repeatedly hit wild shots in every direction.

Just like that, everything changed. Sabalenka started hitting winners everywhere as Keys reversed roles with Sabalenka. Not only did Sabalenka win the second set while dropping just one point in a tiebreaker, she stormed through a decisive 10-point third-set tiebreaker to win the match.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at

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