AUS OPEN: Djokovic, Karatsev; Serena in SFs

Melbourne, Feb 16 (AP/IANS) | Publish Date: 2/16/2021 2:06:41 PM IST

Defending champion Novak Djokovic beat sixth-seeded Alexander Zverev 6-7 (6), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (6) to reach the Australian Open semifinals for the ninth time.

The top-ranked Djokovic has never lost at Melbourne Park after making it to the last four. He shattered his racket in the third set by smashing it into the court when he lost a game. But that only seemed to spur a resurgence as he won the next five games to take the set. 

Djokovic also had to come back from an early break in the fourth and he saved a set point before forcing a tiebreaker. He will next play Aslan Karatsev after the No. 114-ranked Russian qualifier beat Grigor Dimitrov to become the first man in the professional era to reach the semifinals at his first Grand Slam tournament.

The 114th-ranked qualifier from Russia advanced to the final four at the Australian Open with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 win over 18th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria. 

Dimitrov won the opening set easily but looked sluggish in the second and stopped chasing shots in the third. After that set, Dimitrov was visited by a trainer and then took a medical timeout for treatment on a muscle problem around his hip or back. He returned for the fourth set but couldn’t compete.

In women’s singles, American 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams reached the semi-final of the 2021 Australian Open after beating Romanian world No.2 Simona Halep in straight sets at the Rod Laver Arena. Williams beat Halep 6-3, 6-3 to set up a semi-final clash against Japanese third seed Naomi Osaka. Earlier, Osaka eased into the semi-final with a straight sets win over South Korea’s Hsieh Su-Wei. The three-time Grand Slam champion, seeded third in the tournament, beat Hsieh 6-2, 6-2. 

Djokovic smashes his racket in yet another on-court outburst
Smashing rackets on court is becoming somewhat of a bad habit for Novak Djokovic who again lost his temper during Tuesday’s quarter-final against Alexander Zverev at the Australian Open. Djokovic, who has never been shy of showing his emotion, lost his cool at 3-1 down in the third set, Dailymail reported.
The world No 1 sent a return crashing into the net to give Zverev the advantage and a chance to extend his lead to 4-1, which the German took with an ace on the following point. Djokovic reacted to losing the deuce point by screaming and slamming his racket into the ground. The Serbian then sat at the back of the court in a sulk before asking for the mess caused by his racket smash to be cleaned up.
It wasn’t until after he threw his racket at his bag that he was given a warning. 
It was reminiscent of when Djokovic smashed his racket during the quarter-finals of the Italian Open last September against German qualifier Dominik Koepfer.
Djokovic went on to win the match on his way to clinching the tournament. 
He admitted afterwards that it was his way of sometimes releasing his anger, something that he said didn’t set a good example to his younger fans.
That happened only a couple of weeks after Djokovic was disqualified from the US Open when he accidentally hit a line judge with a ball towards the end of the first set of his fourth round match against Pablo Carreno Busta.


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