Since the beginning of the Open era, only eight players have reached nine semi-finals at a single Major, with the honored reserved exclusively for our sport’s greatest names. Novak Djokovic has played in 39 Major semi-finals and has been rock-solid at all four notable tournaments, reaching the last four at every of those as the first player in history! Novak has 11 US Open semi-finals under his belt, backed by ten at Roland Garros and nine at Wimbledon. Seeking the ninth Australian Open crown, Djokovic advanced to the ninth final on Thursday, beating Aslan Karatsev in straight sets and increasing his Australian Open semi-finals tally to 9-0! Novak has won at least 72 matches at all four Majors, with the Australian Open standing out as the most successful one with over 80 triumphs. Since 2008, the Serb has attached the special relationship with the season’s first Major, lifting eight trophies so far and never losing a match after reaching the semis!
After passing three challenging obstacles in Taylor Fritz, Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev, Novak proved to be too strong for the Russian qualifier ranked 114th, beating him 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 53 minutes. Djokovic hit 17 aces and lost serve twice, controlling the return games and securing six breaks from seven opportunities to seal the deal and set the final clash against Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Serb had 30 winners and 14 unforced errors, overpowering Karatsev in the shortest and mid-range exchanges and controlling the pace to seal the deal in under two hours. From 30-0 down in the sixth game, Karatsev delivered impressive hitting and closed the game with a backhand drive-volley winner to remain on the positive side, fighting hard so far. Novak held at 15 in game seven and seized the first break a few minutes later when Aslan sprayed a backhand error. Serving for the set, Djokovic landed an ace down the T line for 6-3 after 35 minutes, hoping for more of the same in the rest of the clash.
Novak lost only three points in the second set’s opening three service games and stood strong on the return to secure two breaks and move 5-1 up. The first of those breaks came at 1-1 when Aslan hit a double fault and another at 3-1 for Novak following a lucky net cord winner. From 5-1 down, Aslan held at 15 to reduce the deficit and broke for the first time when Djokovic netted a backhand to prolong the set. The Russian held after deuce and created more break opportunities at 4-5 that could have turned the tables around. Novak saved those with powerful serves and held for a massive two sets to love advantage after 80 minutes. Karatsev sprayed a colossal forehand error in the third set’s first game to suffer a break. The Russian pulled it back at 1-2 with a brave forehand winner before Novak grabbed another at 15 a few minutes later for 3-2. Djokovic earned a return game at 4-2 and moved over the top with an ace in game eight for his ninth Australian Open final.
Tennis – Novak is the only player in the Open era with nine semi-finals at all four Majors