The Latest: Djokovic into Australian Open final for 9th time

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Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning the second set against Russia's Aslan Karatsev during their semifinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.(AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

MELBOURNE – The Latest on the Australian Open (all times local):

9:45 p.m.

Novak Djokovic reached the Australian Open final for the ninth time by beating No. 114-ranked Aslan Karatsev 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

The top-ranked Djokovic is 8-0 in his previous trips to the final at Melbourne Park. He is also unbeaten in all nine semifinals he has contested in Australia.

Karatsev was the first man to reach the semifinals on his debut in a Grand Slam but his remarkable run came to an end against the biggest obstacle there is to meet on the blue court at Rod Laver Arena.

The Russian qualifier was close for the first seven games and staged a comeback from 5-1 down in the second set but otherwise Djokovic was in command.

Djokovic has had an abdominal muscle problem since his second-round match but now says “this is the best as I’ve felt the entire tournament."