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Australian Open: Novak Djokovic, Jennifer Brady advance to finals

Novak Djokovic (pictured) beat Aslan Karatsev in the men's singles semifinals of the 2021 Australian Open on Thursday at Melbourne Park in Melbourne. Photo by Dean Lewins/EPA-EFE
Novak Djokovic (pictured) beat Aslan Karatsev in the men's singles semifinals of the 2021 Australian Open on Thursday at Melbourne Park in Melbourne. Photo by Dean Lewins/EPA-EFE

Feb. 18 (UPI) -- No. 1 Novak Djokovic beat Aslan Karatsev in straight sets and American Jennifer Brady edged Karolina Muchova to advance to the respective men's and women's finals of the 2021 Australian Open on Thursday in Melbourne.

Brady will meet No. 3 Naomi Osaka in the women's final. Djokovic faces Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the men's final.

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Djokovic bounced Karatsev 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in a one-hour, 52-minute match on Thursday at Rod Laver Arena. He fired 17 aces, had two double faults, won six of seven break points and had 30 winners in the victory. Karatsev had six aces, two double faults, won two of five break points and had 30 unforced errors.

Karatsev was the first male player in history to make it to the Australian Open semifinals in his debut at the Grand Slam.

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Djokovic has advanced through the tournament while dealing with an abdominal injury, but said he feels better.

"This was the best I have felt the entire tournament," Djokovic said in an on-court interview. "It was my best match so far. It came at the right time. I'm thrilled to feel this way."



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Djokovic faces the winner of the Medvedev-Tsitsipas match on Sunday in Melbourne. The No. 1 men's player has an 8-0 record in Australian Open finals.

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"Both Tsitsipas and Medvedev will want to get their first Grand Slam title," Djokovic told reporters. "I'm sure they are going to do their best so I'll be ready for that."

Osaka eliminated Serena Williams on Thursday in Melbourne to advance to the women's final.

She won that 75-minute match 6-3, 6-4. Osaka -- who is undefeated in Grand Slam finals -- had six aces, eight double faults and won four of four break points in the victory. Williams -- ranked No. 11 -- had three aces and won just two of seven break points in the loss.

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Brady advanced the the final with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over Muchova on Thursday at Rod Laver Arena. The American had eight aces and won three of three break points in the semifinal victory.

Muchova had one ace and won three of seven break points in the loss.

"I'm obviously pretty excited to be in the final," Brady told reporters. "It's an incredible achievement. I think it will be a really tough match. Obviously she [Osaka] has won a few Grand Slams. I think it'll be a really good match."

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Brady battles Osaka at 3:30 a.m. EST on Saturday on ESPN. Medvedev faces Tsitsipas in the other men's semifinal at 3:30 p.m. EST on Friday on ESPN.

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