‘Aslan Karatsev is on fire,’ says Novak Djokovic ahead of Belgrade semi-final
Novak Djokovic was full of praise for breakout star Aslan Karatsev ahead of their semi-final showdown in Belgrade on Saturday.
Djokovic made quick work of compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic with a 6-1, 6-3 win before Karatsev defeated Italian qualifier Gianluca Mager 6-3 6-4 to set up a replay of the Australian Open semi-final.
“I think personally I’m feeling very well on court, moving well, hitting the ball well and, of course, enjoying the home court advantage. I’m really excited to go out in the semi-finals on the court again tomorrow,” said the World No 1.
“Karatsev is on fire right now. He’s very confident. We know that he has had the best four, five months of his career.”
Djokovic, who is chasing his third title on home soil, is playing in just his second event since winning the Australian Open and is keen to make a statement after losing to Dan Evans in Monte Carlo.
Following his quarter-final win, Karatsev improved to a remarkable 16-4 on the season and moved a step closer to winning his second ATP 500 title of the year after his triumph in Dubai.
In the only previous meeting between the pair, Djokovic ended Karatsev’s dream run at the Australian Open on his way to a ninth title in Melbourne with a 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory.
Whilst Karatsev is expected to be more comfortable against the World No 1 than he was three months ago, Djokovic has been devastating in Belgrade so far this week, beating both opponents by a 6-1 6-3 scoreline.
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) April 23, 2021