Is Novak Djokovic exactly where I wanted. Not how he wanted, since he has had problems on the right side since the third round, but much better than he expected a few days ago, when he hinted that he could leave the tournament. The 33-year-old Serbian ended the beautiful adventure of Russian Aslan Karatsev in the major Australian (6-3, 6-4 and 6-2, in 1h 53m) and landed in his ninth final in Melbourne, a scenario that has seen him win eight times. More than anyone, it is your track. Now he will wait eating popcorn, so he says, to know who he will face on Sunday: Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas, summoned this Friday (9.30, Eurosport).
The number one suffered in the third season of the tournament against Taylor Fritz, when he felt the first punctures; later he competed in the trantran against Milos Raonic and then had to overcome several entanglements in front of Saschak Zverev; and this Thursday, with the succulent prize of the final ahead, he rose in the duel against the Nobel Prize winner Katsarev, who until now had not seen himself in a similar circumstance, since for the first time in the Open Era, since 68, a player from the previous phase managed to climb to the semifinals. The Russian showed his face. But it was not enough. In the Rod Laver Arena, Djokovic is very much Djokovic.
“I have felt incredibly good, I have not had discomfort. Today I felt the ball, “said Nole in the interview with Jim Courier, once a number one. As he had already done in previous rounds, the Balkan remained in service (17 aces) to break down the willful Katsarev, who wore his iron right with several slaps that drew the applause of the audience in the center, again with the public. However, the Serbian demanded him and forced him from start to finish, and the Russian – 114th in the ATP and even reaches the tournament with only three victories on the locker – drowned going to the limit.
Djokovic controlled the situation from beginning to end, appeasing Katsarev’s rebellion in the two small knots that the encounter had. In the second set, the Russian managed to cut from 5-2 adverse to 5-4 and have two options to break, after saving another two from losing the set, but Nole’s experience kept him from putting pepper in the game. Already in the third, both exchanged a couple of slaps, but the one from Belgrade gave an acceleration when and how he wanted. He sealed with two direct serve points and in the talk with Courier he slipped who generates more concern for Sunday.
“What Stefanos did against Rafa was incredible, but Medvedev is definitely the man of the last months,” he said, referring to the series of 19 consecutive victories that the Muscovite has linked from Paris-Bercy. Djokovic does not forget that the Russian already played a one-to-one final with Nadal, in New York two years ago, nor does he forget that he performs like a fish in water on the fastest surfaces, be it Bercy, the Masters or this from Melbourne. With two days of rest ahead of him, he will turn on the television and analyze. He lacks a single rung to achieve his 18th big and cut with Nadal (20) and Federer (20).