Australian Open Semifinal Predictions: Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev

The first of the two men’s semifinal matches at the Australian Open features one of the greatest underdog runs we’ve ever seen. Aslan Karatsev has made his way to the semifinal against all odds. He’s looked impressive doing that. To reach the final, though, he will have to go through the greatest player in the game right now. Can he do it? Our staff offer their thoughts. Predicting this match are myself (Yesh Ginsburg), Fraser Learmonth, Ryan Schick, Jim Smith, and Harsh Bhoot.

We are also predicting the rest of the semifinal matches in Melbourne, including Serena Williams vs Naomi Osaka and Karolina Muchova vs Jennifer Brady.

Australian Open Semifinal Predictions

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Novak Djokovic vs Aslan Karatsev

Yesh:
Karatsev has been incredible this tournament, never letting nerves or the moment get to him. His aggressive game and strong serve have made tennis history for him. Unfortunately, that’s not enough. Djokovic’s defensive game is fully on point and he’s hitting the ball so cleanly. Karatsev’s weapons aren’t enough to trouble the Serbian, who wins easily.
Prediction: Djokovic in 3

Fraser:
The tennis world is understandably high on Aslan Karatsev at the moment. The qualifier is the first man to make a Grand Slam semifinal on debut in the Open Era. He has taken down Diego Schwartzman, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Grigor Dimitrov along the way. However, he must now do what no one in tennis history has done: beat Novak Djokovic in a semifinal at the Australian Open. Eight times the Serbian has made this stage, eight times he has lifted the trophy. I know Karatsev has played spectacular tennis this week, but the dream run ends here.

Djokovic won comfortably against Milos Raonic despite being off his game. He then did the same thing against Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals. He last lost a match in the Australian Open in 2018. The gulf in class and experience here is beyond belief. Djokovic is trying to win his 18th Grand Slam whilst Karatsev has played just 18 sets of Grand Slam tennis. The Russian has never even made a main draw in a Grand Slam before this. Granted he’s done incredible things in this tournament and I love his bold, aggressive game, but the voice of reason must sound at some point.

I think Karatsev loses this and loses it badly. All those winners he ripped off in the last three rounds will be balls he has to play again against the best returner and mover in men’s tennis. Karatsev has faced some decent returners so far this tournament, but none of the ilk of Djokovic. I want to believe this will be close and an entertaining match, but I don’t. Unless Djokovic aggrevates his injury or is otherwise put off by some physical issue then this match will be short and sweet for the King of Australia.
Prediction: Djokovic in 3

Ryan:

Karatsev has absolutely earned his way here, but he faces a far tougher test than he has had all tournament. Djokovic has struggled with his injury and has not looked his best on court but made his way through a challenging draw. Karatsev has been playing great tennis for months, but he has never faced an opponent like Djokovic and will not be the first to beat him in an Australian Open semifinal.
Prediction: Djokovic in 4

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Jim:
Novak Djokovic has not yet found his best tennis, at least not consistently, but he deserves credit for the fighting spirit he has shown in returning to the semifinals for a ninth time. His reward is a match against the unheralded qualifier Aslan Karatsev. The Russian should not be underestimated, but there is a significant gulf in both class and experience here. This should be Djokovic’s most comfortable outing in some days.
Prediction: Djokovic in 3

Harsh:
I’m sure if Novak Djokovic took a fleeting glance at his half of the draw he wouldn’t have paid much heed to Aslan Karatsev. He’ll be doing that now. The Russian is as pure a ball striker as they come and he has absolutely nothing to lose against the World No. 1. Karatsev needs to stick to his guns if he’s to make a match of it but one feels Djokovic is going to enjoy engaging in baseline rallies. The Serb will likely dominate the rallies as he spreads the court better but apart from that it’s his serve that has been a silent killer this tournament. Expect Karatsev to make it interesting but Djokovic looks in imperious touch.
Prediction: Djokovic in 4

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