Aslan Karatsev’s love affair with Australia continued on Thursday when the top seed overcame Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 to reach the semi-finals at the Sydney Tennis Classic.
The Russian enjoyed a breakthrough run to the last four as a qualifier at the Australian Open last season and produced a strong returning performance against Sonego, breaking five times to advance to his fifth tour-level semi-final in the past year.
The World No. 20, who was voted 2021 Most Improved Player of the Year, triumphed after two hours and 49 minutes in a hard-fought encounter as he improved to 2-0 in the pairs ATPHead2Head series.
Karatsev will next face third seed Daniel Evans or American Maxime Cressy, who reached his first tour-level final at the Melbourne Summer Set last week.[FOLLOW ACTION]
Former World No. 1 Andy Murray moved past David Goffin after the eighth seed was forced to retire having lost the first set 6-2. It is the first time Murray, who saved both break points he faced against Goffin in the 46-minute opener, has reached a tour-level semi-final since Antwerp in 2019.
The Scot went on to win the title in Belgium three years ago, defeating former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka in the final.
Murray has earned wins against Norway’s Viktor Durasovic and second seed Nikoloz Basilashvili this week and now leads Goffin 7-0 in their ATPHead2Head series.
The wild card will play big-serving American Reilly Opelka in the semi-finals following the fourth seeds 7-6(4), 6-2 victory over #NextGenATP countryman Brandon Nakashima. Opelka fired 17 aces en route to his 83-minute win to improve to 2-6 in his last eight matches against fellow Americans.