Djokovic, who has won 81 of his 89 career matches at the Australian Open, will contest his ninth final at Melbourne Park

Top seed Novak Djokovic overcame stern resistance from Aslan Karatsev to reach the Australian Open final and end the Russian qualifier’s remarkable run.

Despite the world number 114 causing moments of tension, Djokovic had enough quality to win 6-3 6-4 6-2.

The 33-year-old Serb won the final four games to finally shrug off Karatsev.

Djokovic, who is going for a record-extending ninth men’s title in Melbourne, will face Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final.

Neither player has won a major title yet and will face an opponent in Djokovic who is bidding for an 18th Grand Slam to close the gap on Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic has lost only three matches at Melbourne Park over the past decade and losing to Karatsev would have been a seismic shock ranked among the sport’s great upsets.

While Djokovic was playing in his 39th Grand Slam semi-final, Karatsev had never even played in one of tennis’ four major tournaments before this fortnight, and he went all the way to the semi-finals on his debut.

Almost 7,500 fans were allowed into Rod Laver Arena to watch as Djokovic maintained his 100% record in the Melbourne semi-final.

As well as more than doubling his career earnings with the £475,000 prize money, Karatsev will climb into the world’s top 50 when the rankings are released on Monday.

Eneojo Adikwu

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