Aslan Karatsev has become the first man in the Open Era to make an Australian Open semi-final on debut after beating Grigor Dimitrov.
The world number 114 had to qualify to make the main draw, but his fairytale run continued as he overcame a bad start to claim a 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 win.
Dimitrov struggled badly with a back injury throughout, an required a medical time out on the court, but Karatsev was good enough to take advantage and secure his slice of history.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Karatsev said after the match.
“It’s the first time playing the men’s draw and the first time the semis.
“It was a really tough one in the beginning for me. I held my nerves. It was still tricky and then in the second set I tried to find a way to play and then the third I felt better. The heat was too much. I try to play every match.”
Speaking in the Eurosport Cube after the match, Tim Henman was keen to pay tribute to the Russian underdog.
“It’s an amazing story and you think about the qualifying being played in a different venue in Doha, he was a set all in the first round [of qualifying], and then he has just played incredible tennis.
“He dealt with some difficult moments, he talked about his nerves, he talked about the heat out there, he obviously got a bit of luck with Dimitrov getting injured with the back, but his personality seems very calm, he wants to keep going.
“He’s not getting carried away, it was interesting to hear him talk about the heat, it is pretty hot out there but he’s got time to recover and he’s going to need to because the next match will be a huge, huge one – it’s an impressive run.”
He will now face either Novak Djokovic or Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals.
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