We were all expecting a big battle between Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of this Australian Open, well, at least one of them won't take part in the last four. Totally dominated by Grigor Dimitrov in the 8th final, the Austrian left Melbourne through the small door. Even if he seemed touched and probably had some problems to hold the whole match because of his physical problems, Dimitrov never really gave him the opportunity to exist and managed to contain him wonderfully during two sets before Thiem totally dropped the ball in the 3rd (6-0 in favour of the Bulgarian). Dimitrov will arrive next night in a rather exceptional state of freshness for a quarter finalist in the Grand Slam. Indeed, he has only spent "only" 6h37 on the courts since the beginning of the tournament, which makes him the most expeditious player. Ten sets won, no lost, less than 3 games cashed per set on average, Grigor is really impressive and seems to have recovered his superb form, the one that brought him to the US Open semi-finals, notably a year and a half ago. However, some little details have changed in the Bulgarian's game since then, and he is now more inclined to build up the point in order to make the opponent fail. Before, he had a more aggressive game where he sometimes tried to finish the point a little bit fast, which led him to commit too many mistakes against the best riders in the world to be able to hope for victory. His beginning of the tournament is on this point quite exceptional: 19 fouls against Cilic and 18 against Bolt and Thiem. Very concentrated in his tournament, he appeared really lucid in his post-match interview against Thiem and he looks very much like a confident player who believes in his chances of going for a title here in Melbourne, which would be his first Grand Slam. Facing him is the Karatsev surprise! The 114th in the world will make a sensational entry into the top, the Russian had (virtually 63rd in case of defeat and 42nd in case of victory). But he had only 3 ATP victories on the scoreboard before the tournament and frankly, not many people were expecting him at this level despite a tournament in Saint-Petersburg that had put him in the spotlight at the end of last season. Unplayable against Mager, Gerasimov and Schwartzman - without losing a single set - he "finally" showed his limits against Felix Auger Aliassime in the round of 16, in a match where he was led 2 sets 0 before making a big comeback and finally winning after 5 sets. In the first two sets, Aslan wasn't as sharp as he had been until now. A bit of pressure perhaps? In any case, he seemed to have a hard time letting go of his wrist and couldn't find the right areas to get in the way of the young Canadian. Then, as the match went on, he got back into it and was able to overtake the FAA very well and that's how the match turned in his favour. Even if he showed some signs of fatigue at the very end of the match, he was the only big opposition he had in this tournament and didn't play that much (8h28 in total). So will he be able to recover the aggressiveness that allowed him to sweep Diego Schwartzman aside? We wish him. An interesting little statistic: Karatsev had scored 50 winning moves in 3 sets against Schwartzman, against only 37 in 5 sets against Auger Aliassime, which shows the beautiful difference between these two oppositions. Beware Grigor, even if your opponent is not very well known, he is a real piece of work, and you shouldn't let him do the game or it could be very expensive! Being quarter finalist in a Grand Slam, and moreover favourite of this match, will probably add a little pressure on Dimitrov's shoulders, a pressure that you will have to know how to manage, which is not necessarily the great specialty of the Bulgarian... A surprise is quite possible on this match and imagining Karatsev taking at least one set is a good compromise. Grigor Dimitrov: "It doesn't matter whether he is known or not. It takes time for everyone to get somewhere. The best way is to treat every player the same and I will treat this match like any other match. Clearly for him to be here in the quarter finals against me is that he has done something good and he is playing great tennis right now. He's a dangerous player entering a second week of Grand Slam. This is not to be taken lightly and my status as favourite shouldn't affect anything in my head. I have to take care of my game. Against Dominic, I managed to maintain a certain consistency throughout the match. It was a strange first set. We know our games very well. I think we both knew how we wanted to play this match. I'm satisfied with the way I did in this first set and the way I stayed focused on the game plan I wanted to apply. It's something I think I did very well today. Obviously he had a bit of a physical problem in the third set. » Aslan Karatsev: "I play aggressively and I try to play a more aggressive style with big serves and points as short as possible. I don't like long points and running behind the back line. I try to stay close to the line. » The eye of Rodolphe Gilbert: It's a poster between the two "surprise guests" of the tournament even if we know DImitrov well and he is used to playing at a very high level in Grand Slam. He is no longer really the third player in the world that he was or at the US Open 2019. He is a player who knows how to raise his level on big occasions and it is obviously logical that he is a favourite in this match. The real big surprise of the tournament is of course Karatsev, who is playing at an incredible level here. I discovered him as a challenger a few years ago, but he didn't really mark me. It's since last summer and his performances in Prague and Ostrava that I've been following him closely. I had also commented him in St Petersburg where he was clearly above Khachanov before his injury and he could have really won the match. He isn't a tall man but he has a very nice tennis game and I am quite a fan of the player. He can do almost everything and he keeps on increasing his power in the tournament. He's a late breakthrough but it's really deserved given his level of play. Afterwards it will be difficult for him because he will have a guy with a lot of experience in front of him. The surface suits Dimitrov really well and the match of Aslan against FAA can really leave some traces, we have seen it with Thiem in particular. If he is at 100%, Karatsev can worry almost anyone with his current level, and Dimitrov shouldn't expect an easy match.
The opinion of the editorial staff: If Dimitrov shows more envy than Schwartzman and makes fewer mistakes than Auger, then the Bulgarian will have everything in hand to win against the Russian. The uncertainty is whether the aggressive play of Karatsev will push Dimitrov to the foul.
⭐️⭐️⭐️--- ⭐️⭐️ Dimitrov wins 3-0 or 3-1 ⭐️ ---
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