Russian Lion Karatsev

aldeayeah

Legend
So I haven't seen much talk about this, but Russian 27-year old Aslan Karatsev, ranked 114, in his major debut as a qualifier, is absolutely crushing his side of the AO draw with some Soderling-like ball bashing.

Won first round in straights, then obliterated Gerasimov (who had upset Paire) with triple bakery (0, 1, 0), then 8th seed Schwartzman (who came from bagelling his R2 opponent himself) 3, 3 and 3, even coming back from a break in the third.

He's also somehow averaging 2 winners per game in his R2/R3 matches. Really jaw-dropping stuff from a guy who was by all accounts a Challenger level player until just now.

Don't know how he'll do in the later rounds, but I'm officially jumping in the bandwagon for him to become a surprise semifinalist, or maybe even more. For now, he's set to play FAA in 4th round, should be a good match.

‘Looks insane’: The Russian ‘secret weapon’ taking the Open by storm

 

aldeayeah

Legend
Not many good ones lol, he is kinda obscure. This from today's match:



Despite playing big guy tennis, he's not excessively tall actually, 6'1" / 185cm

Had some injury woes. Was Russian junior of the year... 10 years ago, here's Marat giving him the prize, looking sharp as the devil as usual:



Has a very 90s-like website with pictures of him as a kid and stuff: http://karatsev.ru

His dispatching of Diego earned a tweet from BG too:

 
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yokied

Hall of Fame
Anyone else see a bit of our old friend Nikolai in Karatsev’s clean no-nonsense strokes and tactics? Especially the FH IMHO. Smooth, high, long takeback then late, very fast swing. Incredible timing and just. Not. Readable. Average speed seems very high, with enough spin. Heavy. Looking more invincible than Med on these fast courts.

The best junior Russian is definitely going to be able to play ball, probably an awful lot better than the hyped Canadian junior he’s about to murder. Either way, best of British young Aslan!
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
Anyone else see a bit of our old friend Nikolai in Karatsev’s clean no-nonsense strokes and tactics? Especially the FH IMHO. Smooth, high, long takeback then late, very fast swing. Incredible timing and just. Not. Readable. Average speed seems very high, with enough spin. Heavy. Looking more invincible than Med on these fast courts.

The best junior Russian is definitely going to be able to play ball, probably an awful lot better than the hyped Canadian junior he’s about to murder. Either way, best of British young Aslan!
Aslan is 27 years old and his first match on tour was in 2013. Hardly a junior and his highest ranking ever in that period is 111. He is having a great tournament, but let’s not overhype him either.
 

vive le beau jeu !

Talk Tennis Guru
The guy has absolutely monster calf muscles. I believe they are the source of his power


i was wondering what his game looked like since our dear ernie lost 4 times to him last year... and a few days ago, i saw the way he annihilated gerasimov, wow.
(apart from the tie-break he lost to nakashima in the qualies, the scores of his matches are brutal as well!)
now schwartzman... who's next?

it seems he's the 5th player to reach R4 in his 1st slam (main draw) since the 2000s... could be the 1st to reach a QF!

 

roysid

Hall of Fame
Rooting karatsev to go all the way to final where he will face the BFG Medvedev and surrender to him politely
 

Shadowcash

New User
One comments, regards Aslan. He said that the main reason for the breakthrough was that he found the right coach - Egor Yatsyuk. Egor lives and works in my native city - Minsk, Belarus.
Due this period, since 2018 Aslan has training in Belarus and even sometimes play in double with Egor in our amateurs league :)

You can read last interview with Aslan here with google translate:
https://m.sports.ru/tribuna/blogs/nitkina/2887560.html
 

James P

G.O.A.T.
Looks like the Russian Lion is entered into the Singapore 250 next week. Currently first man out of the main draw, in the quallies, but I'm sure someone will drop or they'll give him a wild card. This Australian Open is only his 10th ATP level tournament of his career, so he'll get that many if not much more in 2021 alone.

Edit: He's also entered into Montpellier, but is way down the rankings for an opportunity to play there.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Looks like the Russian Lion is entered into the Singapore 250 next week. Currently first man out of the main draw, in the quallies, but I'm sure someone will drop or they'll give him a wild card. This Australian Open is only his 10th ATP level tournament of his career, so he'll get that many if not much more in 2021 alone.

Edit: He's also entered into Montpellier, but is way down the rankings for an opportunity to play there.
After this run, he’ll be a big fan draw, so he can get wildcard entry easily.
 

James P

G.O.A.T.
By the way, I posted this last fall, just remembered it.

Aslan Karatsev of Russia has been on fire since the restart, going 13-1 so far, all at 125 level tournaments. Ranked #253 at the cessation of tennis, he's reached 2 finals, winning 1 and losing 1, and is now in the SF of a third. His current live ranking is up to #129. Massive leap forward.

Prague I
R1 Haase 6-4 6-2
R2 Vesely 6-3 6-4
R3 Gulbis 6-3 6-3
QF Laaksonen 7-6 6-4
SF Herbert 7-5 7-6

F Wawrinka 6-7 4-6 loss

Prague II
R1 Couacaud 3-6 7-5 7-5
R2 Diez 6-1 6-2
R3 Gulbis 6-2 6-1

QF Wawrinka w/o win
SF Popko 7-5 4-6 7-5
F Griekspoor 6-4 7-6


Ostrava
R1 Machac 6-4 6-4
R2 Gulbis 6-1 6-4
QF Moraing 6-3 6-3


Carlos Alcaraz of Spain has also came out on fire since the restart, going 8-1 in challengers, plus 4-0 in challenger quallies, at three 100 level tournaments. Ranked #318 at the cessation of tennis, having never before made a challenger SF, he's now made back to back SFs including winning last week, still in competition this week hunting down a back to back title. His live ranking is currently #198.

Todi
Q1 Cobolli 6-2 6-3
Q2 Gojo 6-4 6-4

R1 Moroni 6-3 6-2 loss

Trieste
Q1 Dambrosi 6-2 3-6 6-3
Q2 Kamke 6-3 6-3
R1 Bourgue 6-3 6-3
R2 Viola 6-4 6-2
QF Etcheverry 7-6 6-3
SF Musetti 7-5 2-6 6-3
F Bonadio 6-4 6-3


Cordenons
R1 Ficovich 4-6 6-3 7-5
R2 Bonzi 6-3 7-6
QF Bagnis 7-6 4-6 6-2
 
N

Nuclear Warhead Sinner

Guest
Not stylistically too similar but he's Wawrinka-like player. Strong as an ox and crushes the ball over and over. If Novak gets through Zverev, I'd like Dimitrov much more next. Though, it would be interesting to see Karatsev-Djokovic eventually.
I'm afraid he will make Djokovic play extremely well. Unless he plays unpredictably, Djokovic will simply redirect his powerful shots and outpace/outsmart him.
 

Larry Duff

Hall of Fame
Did he ever practice with Nadal and Monaco? They were so far back in the closet they almost reached Narnia.
 
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Last time a qualifier made the quarter finals of a slam?

Karatsev, ranked 114, is the first Grand Slam debutant to reach the quarter-finals at a Major since Romanian Alex Radulescu at Wimbledon in 1996 and only the seventh in the Open era.

He is the first qualifier to achieve the feat since Australia’s Bernard Tomic at Wimbledon in 2011 and only the third ever at the Australian Open after Bob Giltinan in 1977 and Goran Ivanisevic in 1989
 

BGod

Legend
Objectively speaking he has made the most of a gifted draw. Felix has choking issues still, Schwartzman is inconsistent and hampered health and of course Dimitrov was seriously injured.

Likely gets destroyed by Novak or ends in 4.
 

yokied

Hall of Fame
Well, I’ve watched every ball he struck at the AO, and here are my notes. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of him. A-game = top 5; B-game = top 30.

1 point to showcase his talent: 2nd set Vs Novak 5-4 40-30 (Novak’s 2nd set point). Wins a monster rally, with a dropper. Follows it up with an FU CC FH return winner off the 1st serve.

Loads of ball-striking talent, evidenced by consistency and potency on serve and return, just as much as the obviously brutal ground strokes. Keeps it simple, plays at his pace, shows ability to make necessary tactical adjustments mid-match. Keeps his foot on the gas through to match point and is very clutch.

The trouble with Novak is he had too many adjustments to make, but he did break Novak and had him playing very defensively. It was a long way from a routining. Clearly he is not far away from offering real competition at top 5 level.

Simple, effective serve, hitting both corners easily. 1st serve very consistent T 190-200kph; 180kph-ish wide. 2nd serve also consistently strong in the 170s.
Return aggressive, consistent, a lot of winners off either wing.
FH favours CC and inside-in, certainly early on in sets. IO-FH very confidence-dependent.
Can produce powerful big angles CC from neutral positions; not so much IO.
BH wayyy too CC-oriented. Virtually none DTL - it’s a weakness he’s obviously aware of.
All court capability, approaches reasonably frequently with good instincts.
Movement goood. Serve recovery and rally-ball shot preps are quick and effective. Moves well out to FH, running FH a real weapon both CC and DTL.
Putaways rarely get guessed, let alone picked off - good peripheral vision for opponent’s position.

Weaknesses:
1. lacks drop shot, even the threat of it to keep opponent’s court position neutral. Novak was able to camp 2m+ behind the baseline in rallies in super defensive positions.
2. Lack of FH variation. He plays eastern grip with a big loopy take back. He could definitely use it to play a loopier ball to his advantage in some situations where defence or junk is the best option. It would reduce his error rate.
3. BH DTL/IO/re-direct.
4a. Shot selection. He could build points a little longer and accept forced errors due to his all-day power and depth rather than require clean winners in the corners.
4b. Movement off the ball. He is not used to a lot of good shots coming back, so he does ball watch instead of preparing for the next ball. This was less of a problem Vs Novak because he naturally expected nearly everything to be coming back.
5. Volleys. Too often goes for drop volley when open court will do (Applies to pretty much all top 100 atm).
 

yokied

Hall of Fame
As much as it pains me to watch a zoning Novak at the business end of the AO (still got AO16 Fedovic PTSD), I’ve reviewed Novak’s semi and the final again. Karatsev played Novak closer in the semi than Med did in the final. And by some margin too. A lot of close rallies and swingy games, with Novak‘s big swings being absorbed easily and Karatsev putting him on the ropes plenty. Broke Novak serving for the 2nd at 5-2, had break point at 5-4; broke Novak at 2-1 in the 3rd before going away and not coming back.

He was almost always playing for the next ball, not getting rattled by Novak’s return or defence. Never went away, panicked, never went for bail out BS droppers, didn’t rant and rave too much or start up at his box. He probably stayed a little too patient with his game plan and should’ve unsheathed a few of the shots I mention above (BH and FH DTL especially).

A lot to be positive about and possibly one of the few rays of sunshine in this tournament. But please folks, nothing to see here, move along and resume hyping Canadian teenagers and rappers who won’t make a slam semi in a million years.
 
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