Aslan Karatsev repeated the best major showing of his journeyman career on Thursday as the qualifier reached another big-time semi-final.

His accomplishment at the Madrid Masters – a 7-6(3) 6-4 defeat of breakthrough Chinese Zhang Zhizhen – duplicated his shock 2021 Australian Open final four appearance from a qualifying start.

Karatsev owns three ATP titles at Sydney, Moscow and Dubai. But his performance at the pair of major events trumps his Tour title showings.

The No. 121 is only the second from the qualifying ranks to get this far in Madrid.

“I am happy with my condition. Back to the top level,” the winner said.

“(I’m) playing well and feeling well. From the qualifying, match by match, it has got harder, so mentally you have to be there more.

“Because your opponent doesn’t give you any free points so you have to be there yourself. The important thing is now to recover well.”

Karatsev said his experience in Melbourne two years ago – as well as the major dip in form which followed – have helped him grow his game.

The experience that I got (in Australia) I think (it helped me).

“I’m more calm, a bit (more) focused on the things that you have to do.”

The winner defeated No. 99 Zhang, first Chinese player to reach a Masters 1000 quarter-final – in one and three-quarter hours.

Karatsev completed his ninth ATP-level success of the year with 29 winners and will jump to 51st in the world in time for next week in Rome.

“”I started the year inside the Top 100 then I dropped and lost some matches,” he said..

“You have to keep going and believe and I have a team behind me that is always supporting me and believing in me.”

He will play for the final against either Stefanos Tsitsipas or qualifying Jan-Lennard Struff, whom Karatseve defeated in the qualies.

Main photo:- Aslan Karatsev wins quarterfinal in Madrid – by