Aslan Karatsev scored his 14th win in 16 matches at 2021, stopped Andrey Rublev’s 23-match winning streak in the 500 and qualified for the most important final of his career!
Aslan Karatsev’s great run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open last month was no mere coincidence, as the 27-year-old continues to prove in Dubai.
After some very good wins over Dan Evans, Lorenzo Sonego and Jannik Sinner in the previous days, Karatsev also eliminated the tournament favourite Andrey Rublev today, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.
This brings his record to 14 wins in 16 matches this season (14-2), in which he has only been beaten by the world’s top tennis player, Novak Djokovic, and world No.4 Dominic Thiem.
He also became the first player to beat Rublev in a 500 in a year, since the 2020 Dubai tournament. Since then the 23-year-old has been on a 23-match winning streak, winning titles in Hamburg, St Petersburg, Vienna and Rotterdam in succession.
Although he got off to an amazing start and took the first set 6-2, it was no easy task for Karatsev to complete that victory. In the 2nd set, he had 5 chances to get to the break first and even at crucial points. 4 of them were in the 7th game (3-3), and he had another one in the 9th game (4-4). In both games, Rublev stood his ground and led 4-3 and 5-4 respectively, only to break later, using the first chance he had in the whole match to take the set 6-4 and level the score.
But Karatsev was the player with the upper hand in the third set as well, with the 27-year-old breaking after five more missed opportunities in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. He later made another break later on, making it 5-2 and embracing the qualification.
Rublev didn’t give up then either, as he managed to close to 5-4 and had 2 break points for a new tie-break. But this time Karatsev kept his cool and showed the required patience, first managing to erase those break points and later closing the game on his 2nd match point, after 2 hours and 12 minutes of play.
It was the second Top 10 win of Karatsev’s career, who had beaten Diego Schwartzman at the Australian Open. We recall that the Russian was outside the Top 100 when he went to Australia (No.114), he left there from world No.42 and with his qualification for the Dubai final he has secured his rise to No.33, along with his first entry into the ATP Top 40.
In his first ATP Tour final, and by far the most important final of his career, he will face qualifier Lloyd Harris, who is also enjoying a very impressive run in Dubai, to which he added a qualification today at the expense of Denis Shapovalov.