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Until his debut at the Australian Open, Aslan Karatsev had only won three ATP matches in his career.

As a rookie in a Grand Slam tournament, it wouldn't be all that strange to look at his card.

Karatsev is 27 years old and until a week ago he was an anonymous tennis player, one of hundreds on the circuit.

The nine times he had played the previous one for a great, he had stayed by the way, until last month he got his ticket to Melbourne.

And out of nowhere, a surprise like it had not been seen in tennis for decades: in his first Grand Slam tournament, Karatsev is already in the semifinals.

Karatsev is the first tennis player of the Open Era to reach the semifinals of his first Grand Slam tournament, the fifth to do so from the previous one.

The Russian debuted his locker against Italian

Gianluca Mager

and raised an eyebrow when he ran over

Egor Gerasimov

(6-0, 6-1, 6-0)

in the second round


And since then, madness: in third

he overcame

Diego Schwartzman

(6-3, 6-3, 6-3), in the second round he rallied two sets to

Felix Auger-Aliassime

(3-6, 1-6, 6-3 , 6-3, 6-4) and in the quarterfinals, a comeback against

Grigor Dimitrov

(2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2).


"I try not to show it," Karatsev joked when asked about his performance in Melbourne after knocking down Auger-Aliassime, the second of three seeded players.

"It's amazing, but I was working hard. It's just [all of this] happening now."

Aslan Karatsev is one of the first names to jump when it comes to the impact of the slopes at this Australian Open.

The tennis players already warned before the tournament that

the surface was very fast

and that works in favor of a striker as resounding as the Russian: in these five games he averages 38.6 winners, more than triple that of his rivals.

The best testimony of the punch that is exhibiting in Melbourne.

Not an ATP win in five years

Don't blame yourselves if you don't remember hearing your name before the last week.

Until last fall, Aslan Karatsev hadn't won a single ATP tour in five years, so even coffee growers might have trouble locating him before he burst onto the Challenger circuit a few months ago.

In August, after a five-month hiatus due to a pandemic, Karatsev played three tournaments in the Czech Republic and reached the final in all three.

He only lost the first against

Stan Wawrinka

and the Swiss had to sweat his thing.

Before 2020, his last Challenger finish had been in 2016.

Karatsev 'disappeared' from the circuit after suffering a serious knee injury while training in Barcelona.

He was then a pupil of the Bruguera Academy, and until last year it was

Alberto López

, Garbiñe Muguruza's former coach.

In fact, it still was when it exploded a few months ago in the Czech Republic although, according to the tennis player himself on the ATP website, the Galician could not accompany him due to the restrictions due to the pandemic.

Explosion in the Czech Republic

That sudden irruption allowed him to climb more than 100 points in the ATP rankings and return to the radar.

In September he played the Roland Garros qualifier, again without luck as in the eight previous times he tried to get into a big one, and in October he achieved

his first victory on the circuit in five years


Tennys Sandgren


The good end of the season earned him a place in the Russian team that this month won the ATP Cup led by

Daniil Medvedev


Andrey Rublev

, who will meet tomorrow for another place in the semifinals of the Australian Open.

The world number four came to refer to Karatsev as "the secret weapon", although it is not clear to what extent he was joking because he lost all three games he played in the doubles.

10 days later, Aslan Karatsev is starring in a surprise like men's tennis hasn't seen for decades.

From the pre to the semifinal of a Grand Slam

  • 1977 Wimbledon

    John McEnroe

  • 1977 Australia

    Bob Giltinan

  • 1997 Roland Garros

    Filip Dewulf

  • 2000 Wimbledon

    Vladimir Voltchkov

  • 2021 Australia

    Aslan Karatsev

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

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