This is a quarterfinal that no one saw coming to the Australian Open.
With a direct victory on Sunday over the dominant Dominic Thiem, champion of the US Open and vice-champion of the Australian Open in 2020, Grigor Dimitrov advanced in the fight with Aslan Karatsev.
Yes, this Karatsev – the Russian number 114, who plays in his first Grand Slam tournament. Dimitrov, who is making his fourth quarterfinal in Melbourne Park, is not completely upset.
The 29-year-old Bulgarian is ranked No. 3, winning the ATP finals and already leading his friend, Team, 3-2 in his career, although this was their first participation in the specialty.
Despite his long tennis pedigree, Dimitrov has never reached the semifinals of the big. So he is wary of someone like Karatsev.
“If you’re here, it’s for a reason – there’s no doubt about it,” Dimitrov said after his 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 victory. “Whether it’s a fairy tale or not, it’s a coincidence – you have to be ready.”
Earlier, Karatsev added a win over No. 20 Felix Oger-Aliasime, returning for a 3-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 victory to an earlier victory over No. 8 Diego Schwartzman.
He had failed in nine previous bids to qualify for the Grand Slam, but finally succeeded in Doha last month, when the Australian Open qualifiers were held ashore for the first time due to restrictions on the COVID-19 pandemic. .
He is now only the third qualifier to reach Australia in the professional era, the first since Goran Ivanisevic in 1989. The last man to reach the eighth round in his first appearance at the Grand Slam was Alex Radulescu at Wimbledon in 1996.
And it wasn’t until Patrick McEnroe, John’s brother, reached the Australian Open quarterfinals in 1991, a man ranked 114th.
“I worked hard and it happened right now,” Karatsev, 27, said of his recent series.
“It’s as if you never know when it’s happening. It just happened here. “
Team said there are several issues on Sunday, but does not want to develop or use them as an excuse.
However, it was clear that he was still tired after having to come from two sets to beat Australian Nick Kyrgios in five sets on Friday night.
“Some small physical problems, plus a really bad day, plus the fact that, well, he’s a great player,” Team said. “So a combination of these three things and such a result can happen.”
“The thing is, I’m not a machine either,” he added. “I mean, sometimes I’d like to be, but there are really, really bad days.
“If you’re not 100% there on the court at this level, results like this are coming up and that’s exactly what happened today.”