Aslan Karatsev came into the limelight when he was having the dream run in the Australian Open, 2021. He won 3 matches in the qualifying rounds of the tournament but the Russian did not stop there. He had some other plans as he went on to become the first debutant in the open era to reach the semi finals of a grand slam.
His dream run finally ended when he was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals with the scoreline of 3-6, 4-6, 2-6. Interestingly, Karatsev was ranked 114 on tour before the start of the Australian Open. However, after his wonderful run at the year’s first grand slam, he jumped to reach his career best rankings of 42.
Karatsev’s caught people’s attention when he unexpectedly pulled off an upset by beating the 8th seed Diego Schwartzman in the third round. He had beaten the Argentine in straight sets with the score line of 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.
Just after the Australian Open concluded, people started speculating that he was a one-time wonder and would not be able to maintain such a high level in the future but alas! They were wrong.
The 27-year-old had made it to the second round in the ATP 250 event at Doha only to be beaten by the top seed, Dominic Thiem in a thriller encounter. Thiem defeated Karatsev in 3 sets with the score line of 6-7, 6-3, 6-2.
Dubai Open: Karatsev’s 1st ATP Title
Next stop for the Russian was Dubai open. He was coming into the tournament as an underdog and he defied the odds by lifting his first ATP Tour level title by beating Lloyd Harris in the final. The score line of the final was 6-3, 6-2. He had beaten the rising star Jannik Sinner in the quarter finals with the score line of 6-7, 6-3, 6-2.
In the semi-finals, he was up against the next-gen star and his countryman Andrey Rublev. The 23-year-old was on an unbeaten run in the ATP 500 events as he had won 22 consecutive matches in these events. The semi final encounter was a thriller as both the players played some high quality shots against each other and at the end Aslan Karatsev had put an end to Rublev’s winning streak.
He won the match in 3 sets with the score line of 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. After winning the Dubai Open, he reached his career-high ranking of 27 on 22nd March, 2021.
What Next for Karatsev?
The rise of the Russian at 27 years of age tells me something about life. It gives a message to us that we must never give up. We just have to give our best at everything and wait for the right opportunity to come on our way.
It will be really interesting to see how the 2021 season unfolds for the Russian. The clay court season is around the corner. So, will Karatsev be able to replicate the success in the clay season? Well, the answer to this question will be answered by Karatsev himself in near future. So, stay tuned and keep an eye on this man who is continuously defying the odds.