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Aslan Karatsev surges back from two sets down to deny Australian Jordan Thompson to reach the third round at the 2021 US Open.

Karatsev Saves Match Points To Reach US Open Third Round

Russian wins two straight matches for first time since May

Aslan Karatsev survived two match points and surged back from two sets down to thwart Jordan Thompson’s upset bid in the second round of the US Open on Thursday.

The Russian – 11th in the FedEx ATP Race to Turin – denied the Australian 3-6, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(9), 6-1 in four hours and 44 minutes. He will next meet #NextGenATP player Jenson Brooksby, the winner of an all-American showdown against Taylor Fritz.

“It was really important mentally, [it means] you’re getting tougher,” Karatsev said. “Especially when I had the last losses in the Grand Slams – Roland Garros, Wimbledon – and the US tournaments, so I think it’s really important to my confidence."

Karatsev survived the two match points during an 18-minute fourth-set tie-break before pulling clear in the fifth set to win a second match in succession for the first time since Rome in May. He won 73 per cent of first-serve points, and finished with 57 winners and 54 unforced errors.

It was a victory he hoped would become the launching pad to another deep run at a major and boost his chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time. “We will see. I have to push myself, I have to do my best every day,” he said. “There are no easy matches.”

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It was the first time the 27-year-old had won back-to-back matches at a major since his breakthrough run at this year’s Australian Open, where as a qualifier he became the first man in the Open Era to reach a semi-final on his Grand Slam debut.

Having helped Russia capture the ATP Cup, he went on to beat seeds Diego Schwartzman, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Grigor Dimitrov in succession before defending champion Novak Djokovic had his number. Karatsev admitted he drew on that experience of having beaten Auger-Aliassime from two sets down on that run.

“A bit, a bit. That was the same situation but I think with the match against Felix I played a bit better,” he said. “Here I was struggling mentally the first set, second set… I was 4-1 down in the second set. I came back to 4-3, lost the set and then I just figured out how to play, to find the key for the match, so I managed it well.”

Karatsev backed up his Australian Open run with his first ATP 500 title in Dubai, with wins over four straight seeds, including #NextGenATP star Jannik Sinner and compatriot Andrey Rublev. A month later on clay, he inflicted one of only five defeats to date on World No. 1 Novak Djokovic this season to reach the Serbian Open final, where he narrowly came up short against Matteo Berrettini.

It was a rare highlight in somewhat of a mid-year slump. Despite runner-up showings in mixed doubles with Elena Vesnina at Roland Garros and the Tokyo Olympics, in singles, Karatsev fell second round in Paris and first round at Wimbledon. He had won only one of his four matches on hard courts prior to the US Open.

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