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Karatsev vs Djokovic Odds: Can Karatsev Continue Dream Run At Aussie Open?

Aslan Karatsev vs Novak Djokovic odds list Karatsev as a major underdog in the 2021 Australian Open semifinal.

This year’s Australian Open has been a wild ride. It has given us incredible matches and upsets and the quarterfinal was no exception. On Wednesday, No. 5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas shocked Rafael Nadal in a five-set thriller to reach the semifinal. He’s only the third player to come from two sets down to beat Nadal in a Grand Slam.

The fairytale story of the times, however, is that of Aslan Karatsev. The 27-year-old Russian entered the Australian Open as a qualifier and as the world No. 114. After defeating No. 18 seed Grigor Dimitrov in four sets, he will now face world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is eyeing his ninth title here.

Australian Open Betting Odds: Aslan Karatsev vs Novak Djokovic:
  • Karatsev +856 vs Djokovic -1331
  • Karatsev +1.5 sets (+350) vs Djokovic -1.5 sets (-500)
  • Karatsev +2.5 sets (+120) vs Djokovic -2.5 sets (-150)
  • Karatsev +7.5 games (-102) vs Djokovic (-118)

How Karatsev Got Here

Plagued by injuries, Karatsev nearly quit the game four years ago, he said in a recent interview. Deciding to stick with it, he connected with a new coach one year later and has been competing on the ITF Futures and ATP Challenger tours since.

His game really came into a rhythm in 2020. He lost to Stan Wawrinka in the final at the Prague Challenger but then went on to win back-to-back Challenger events soon after. In just five months, he moved up in the FedEx ATP rankings from No. 253 to No. 114 after winning 18 of his final 20 Challenger matches.

In this Australian Open, he has defeated world No. 9 Diego Schwartzman, world No. 19 Felix Auger-Aliassime and, of course, world No. 21 Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinal. His match against Auger-Aliassime was the first five-setter of his career, and these were his first three career wins against top-25 opponents.

What could have helped his game? Last month he played three doubles matches for Team Russia during the ATP Cup. In one of those matches, he was paired with world No. 8 Andrey Rublev. This was his 10th attempt at qualifying for a major and now he’s in the quarterfinal playing the best tennis player in the world.

Here are the full betting odds for each match in Karatsev’s trek to the semifinal:

Aslan Karatsev: 2021 Australian Open Closing Odds

  • First Round vs Gianluca Mager: Karatsev -400 (Implied win probability: 80%)
  • Second Round vs Egor Gerasimov: Karatsev -160 (Implied win probability: 61.5%)
  • Third Round vs Diego Schwartzman: Karatsev +250 (Implied win probability: 28.6%)
  • Fourth Round vs Felix Auger-Aliassime: Karatsev +155 (Implied win probability: 39.2%)
  • Quarterfinals vs Gregor Dimitrov: Karatsev +250 (Implied win probability: 28.6%)

History in the Making

Karatsev has a slew of firsts but for one, he is set to earn more money from this tournament – he is guaranteed at least $662,000 – than he has won in his entire career ($618,354).

Here’s a full look at the odds Karatsev is defying. He is:

  • The first man to reach a quarterfinal in his Grand Slam debut.
  • The first qualifier to make the quarterfinal of the Australian Open since Goran Ivanisevic in 1989.
  • The first qualifier to reach the semifinal of a Grand Slam since Vladimir Voltchkov at Wimbledon in 2020.
  • The lowest-ranked player to reach the Australian Open semifinals since Patrick McEnroe in 1991.

If Karatsev loses to Djokovic, he is still projected to break into the top 50 for the first time. If he were to stun the world No. 1, Karatsev would break the top 30. If his fairytale story were to take him to the winner’s circle, he would move into the top 15.

Australian Open 2021 Semifinal Preview

If you had a crystal ball for this event and saw this coming, then you are holding a Karatsev to win the 2021 Australian Open ticket at 1000-1 odds. After he won his opening match in straight sets, those odds dropped to 500-1 and they have been slowly dropping match by match since.

He is a +856 underdog to defeat Djokovic. The question becomes, can he win? It’s possible. If he catches Djokovic on a bad day, sure. However, it is unlikely. What Karatsev has going for him is that he is a complete unknown. There is no match history between him and the best players in the world. The only history you have to go on is his run at this tournament. That makes game-planning difficult. What skill set have we seen so far?

He has a few positives that could benefit him in this match. He does have a strong serve, with 39 aces in this tournament and a first-serve percentage of 62. The problem with that, of course, is that he is facing the best returner in the world.

He has a solid baseline game that comes with some incredible power. Combine that with a “nothing to lose” mentality and he can be troublesome. What we haven’t really seen from Karatsev is any display of nerves, and having that confidence entering this match could be crucial.

What could hurt Karatsev is fatigue. In his quarterfinal match against Dimitrov, he lost the opening set 6-2 and looked absolutely gassed. For the first time in this tournament, his first-serve percentage fell below 60 percent (averaged 55 percent for this match) and that could definitely be a red flag.

He’s played a lot of tennis to get here and has put a lot of miles on the court. Though he was able to flip his game around to defeat Dimitrov 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in the next three sets, his win came with the assist from Dimitrov, who was playing through injury, which he said was back spasms. Djokovic has been battling injury himself but since his match against Taylor Fritz in the third round, he’s definitely looked more like himself and is getting better through each match.

Djokovic is also serving as well as he ever has. Only four times in his career has he hit 20 or more aces in a match. Two of those occasions have come during this tournament, with 26 against Frances Tiafoe in the second round and 23 against Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinal.

What Karatsev has achieved will go down in history. He is playing some inspiring tennis but his Cinderella night ends with Novak Djokovic.