Russian-Israeli tennis player Karatsev makes mixed doubles finals in Tokyo

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Russian-Israeli tennis player Aslan Karatsev and his partner, Russian Elena Vesnina, defeated world no. 1 Novak Djokovic and his partner Nina Stojanovic Friday at the Tokyo Olympics. The duo will now proceed to the mixed doubles finals for a shot at a gold medal.

Djokovic’s defeat denied him his second gold medal of the day as he and Stojanovic lost 7-6 (7/4), 7-5. Earlier Djokovic’s bid to win a Golden Slam — winning all four Grand Slam tournaments and Olympic gold in the same year — was dashed when he lost in singles to German Alexander Zverev.

Karatsev and Vesnina will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Andrey Rublev in an all-Russian final on Sunday after their compatriots beat women’s world number one Ashleigh Barty and John Peers in the first semi-final.

A tight first set was taken on a tie-break by Vesnina and Karatsev, but Djokovic and Stojanovic looked poised to force a deciding breaker after moving 4-2 ahead in the second.

But Stojanovic was broken in the eighth game and then again in game 12, with Djokovic bunting a difficult volley long on the first match point.

The 34-year-old Djokovic, who won singles bronze in 2008, will play two bronze-medal matches on Saturday, against Pablo Carreno Busta in the singles before he and Stojanovic take on Australia’s Barty and Peers.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts during a semifinal men’s tennis match against Alexander Zverev, of Germany, at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Karatsev, 27, was born in the North Caucasus region of Russia. His maternal grandfather is Jewish, and he moved to Israel when he was 3 years old. He left at 12 and said the Israel Tennis Association’s lack of funding was a major factor pushing him to leave. His mother and sister remained in Israel.

Karatsev was ranked 24 in the world as of June.

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Russian-Israeli tennis player Karatsev makes mixed doubles finals in Tokyo 2021-07-30 16:02:28

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