Network's embarrassing promo blunder for Aus Open surprise packet

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
Aslan Karatsev went into his semi-final clash with Novak Djokovic as a massive underdog. Pic: Getty
Aslan Karatsev went into his semi-final clash with Novak Djokovic as a massive underdog. Pic: Getty

Casual tennis fans could be excused for not knowing much about Aslan Karatsev before the Australian Open tournament began.

After a giant-killing run that saw him set up a semi-final showdown with eight-time champion Novak Djokovic on Thursday night, however, the Russian had very much announced himself to the tennis world.

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Karatsev's shock charge at the year's first grand slam included wins over Grigor Dimitrov, Felix Auger Aliassime and Diego Schwartzman - all seeded players ranked significantly higher than the unheralded 27-year-old.

The Russian's victory over Dimitrov was particularly impressive, considering the Bulgarian 18th seed destroyed World No.3 Dominic Thiem in straight sets earlier in the tournament.

The shock result resonated through the tennis world but unfortunately for Channel Nine, Australia's free-to-air host broadcaster didn't seem to get the memo.

Well, someone in the network's promo department certainly didn't because Karatsev was nowhere to be seen in one particular promotional post.

The embarrassing gaffe saw the network promote Thursday night's match between Djokovic and Karatsev, however, they accidentally had a photo of Dimitrov instead of the Russian.

Nine's massive blunder seemed to go largely unnoticed.

However, there were a few eagle-eyed fans that pointed out the network's howler on social media.

Semi-final marks first match between pair

Djokovic went into Thursday night's match with Karatsev hunting a spot in the final and a shot at a record-extending ninth Australian Open title.

Around 7,500 fans returned to watch the watch on a reduced capacity Rod Laver Arena, after Victoria's five-day coronavirus lockdown ended.

Curiously, the match represented unchartered territory for Djokovic, who has never played the Russian qualifier before in his career.

The World No.1, who has been hampered by an abdominal injury, confessed he had not seen much of the tournament's surprise semi-finalist.

Seen here, Grigor Dimitrov's photo is mistakenly used in a promo for Aslan Karatsev's semi-final.
A photo of Grigor Dimitrov was mistakenly used to promote Aslan Karatsev's semi-final match. Pic: Twitter

However, an ever-professional Djokovic admitted that he wouldn't dare take the World No.114 lightly.

"He's impressed a lot of people with his movement and firepower from the baseline," Djokovic said of Karatsev.

"He doesn't have anything to lose, really. He's motivated."

Karatsev, who is guaranteed to rise into the world's top 50, is the first man in the Open era to reach a semi-final on his Grand Slam debut.

The Russian is also just the second qualifier to do so at the Australian Open after Bob Giltinan in 1977.

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