From Losing To The World No.405 To Stunning Federer: Grigor Dimitrov’s US Open Resurgence - UBITENNIS
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From Losing To The World No.405 To Stunning Federer: Grigor Dimitrov’s US Open Resurgence

It has been an incredible turnaround for the former top 10 player.

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Grigor Dimitrov US Open 2019 (photo via Twitter @USOpen)

Nobody was more surprised about Grigor Dimitrov reaching the semifinals of the US Open than the man himself.

 

Coming into the final grand slam of 2019, the former world No.3 has struggled on the tour. After the French Open, he failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments. Losing to players ranging from world No.21 Felix Auger Aliassime to the world No.405 Darian King. During that period, his ranking plummeted by more than 30 places to 78th in the world. It was starting to look like this was a season to forget. That was until the US Open.

Manoeuvring his way through the first week in Flushing Meadows and avoiding a clash with 12th seed Bona Coric, who withdrew from their clash due to injury, Dimitrov has a chance to play Roger Federer. A player he has been compared to throughout his roller coaster career. On paper he was the underdog, but he managed to prevail in five-sets on Tuesday. Shocking the 20-time grand slam champion, who was affected by a back issue.

“I felt very comfortable from the first point, despite the fact that I was missing a little bit here and there. I had a few opportunities. I kept on believing in what I had to do, in my game plan. I was moving really well. I was hitting my backhand pretty good, changing up the shots.” Said Dimitrov.
“One of the only things for me was try to keep him as much as possible on the court. I did that very well. A lot of long games. Clearly in the end he was not at his best. I used every opportunity I had.”

So how has Dimitrov managed to go from a series of poor runs to a grand slam semi-final so rapidly? For him, he believes things are starting to fall into place when it comes to his game after a turbulent season. He is currently mentored on the tour by former players Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek.

“It was not a pretty time. I’m not going to lie.” Dimitrov admits. “I don’t want to sound too humble, but it was just another match for me really. I don’t want to say I had nothing to lose, because I felt I did.”
“I just came out prepared the best that I could, especially coming out from the past two weeks of preparation, fitness, good matches. I’m trying to build off that. Little by little, things are starting to fall into their place.”

Yet to win a title since the 2017 ATP Finals, the 28-year-old is now in with a strong chance of reaching his first ever grand slam final. In the last four he will take on Daniil Medvedev. The Russian world No.5 has been a revelation on the tour in recent weeks and has won 19 out of 21 matches since Wimbledon. However, Medvedev is currently nursing an array of physical issues with numerous parts of his body taped up. Following his fourth round meeting with Stan Wawrinka, he admitted that he contemplated retiring from the match at one point.

“I think obviously he’s been pretty focused throughout the whole summer. He’s been having a great summer, a lot of confidence building up, winning Cincinnati. A lot of good matches, a lot behind him really.” He said of his next opponent.
“I’ve just seen him a little bit in the background here, how he has played. Clearly he’s doing something right. It’s not going to be an easy match.”

As a result of his US Open run, Dimitrov is set to return back into the world’s top 30 on Monday for the first time since April. He will play his semi-final match against Medvedev on Friday.

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Fabio Fognini beats Guido Pella in straight sets to reach the fourth round in Melbourne

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Fabio Fognini beat Guido Pella 7-6 (7-0) 6-2 6-3 to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open in Melbourne. The Italian star converted five of his six break points to close out the match after 2 hours and nine minutes.

 

Fognini saved two break points in the first set with a forehand and a backhand and held his serve. The Italian star did not convert a break point in a long seventh game. Both players went on serve to set up a tie-break. Fognini did not drop a single point to cruise through to a 7-0 win.

In the second set Fognini earned a crucial break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. He held his serve on the second deuce after saving a break point. The 2019 Monte-Carlo champion sealed the second set with another break with a forehand return winner.

Fognini earned a break lead in the fourth game of the decisive set. Pella broke straight back in the fifth game. Both traded breaks again in the sixth and seventh games. Fognini broke for the third time and converted his second match point with a serve up the T.

He is also the 12th player to come back from two sets down at all four Grand Slam tournaments.

With his five-set victories over Reilly Opelka and Jordan Thompson in the first two matches Fognini made history on Wednesday when the “Come-back king” became the first player to win back-to-back Australian Open matches in final set tie-breaks.

“I am so happy to be in the fourth round again in Australia. Now it’s time to recover. I played a really solid game against a really tough opponent. I am happy with the performance”, said Fognini.

Fognini set up a fourth round match against 2018 Australian Open quarter finalist Tennys Sandgren, who beat Sam Querrey 6-4 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 52 minutes. Sandgren fended off nine break points and converted just 2 of his 14 break point chances. Two years ago Sandgen beat Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem en route to reaching his first quarter final at a Grand Slam event.

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Marin Cilic prevails over Roberto Bautista Agut in five-set thriller in Melbourne

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Marin Cilic overcame Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-0 5-7 6-3 after 4 hours and 10 minutes to score his first top 10 win since the 2018 US Open, when he beat David Goffin.

 

Cilic fought back from losing the first set at the tie-break, but he bounced back in the second set by breaking serve in the ninth game, when Bautista Agut made a forehand error. Cilic held on his serve to win the second set 6-4 to draw level to 1-1.

Cilic cruised through to a bagel win in the third set. The Croatian player got an early break in the fourth set to open up a 3-1 lead. Bautista Agut broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Cilic did not convert a break point chance at 5-5. Bautista Agut earned the break at 6-5 to force the match to the fifth set.

Cilic broke serve in the opening game of the fifth set with a forehand winner, but he did not convert a break point at 4-2. He broke for the seventh time in the match in Bautista Agut’s next service game to clinch a thrilling win, as Bautista Agut fired a backhand into the net.

Cilic took a re-match against the Spanish player, who won their previous head-to-head clash at the 2019 Australian Open in five sets.

“I had an incredible patch. It was a surreal level. Every ball I was hitting was going in. It was coming off my raquet incredibly well. I knew Roberto would always fight and he pushed me all the way in the fourth set”, said Cilic.

 

 

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Karen Khachanov edges Mikael Ymer in marathon match in Melbourne

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Karen Khachanov battled past Mikael Ymer 6-2 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6 (10-8) in a marathon match after 4 hours and 14 minutes.

 

Ymer broke serve twice in the second and fourth games of the fourth set to open up a 4-1 lead. Khachanov broke back in the seventh game, but Ymer broke for the third time to take the fourth set 6-3.

Khachanov broke serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2, but he was broken back in the next game.

Khachanov was not able to serve out the match at 5-3 in the fifth set before trailing 6-8 in the decisive match tie-break. Khachanov came back by winning four consecutive points to clinch a thrilling win.

Australia’s Alexei Popyrin beat Spain’s Jaume Munar 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 after 2 hours and 4 minutes setting up a third round match against Danil Medvedev. Popyrin broke twice in each of the first and third sets and saved all four break point chances.

Taylor Fritz came back from two sets down to beat Kevin Anderson 4-6 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 6-2. Anderson was leading by two sets and 4-2 in the third set, but Fritz broke back before winning the third set at the tie-break. Fritz cruised through the fourth and fifth sets. Fritz will face Dominic Thiem in the third round.

“That was huge for me. He played a really tough five setter just the other day and then obviously coming back. Going back to back five setters is going to be tougher for him than usual. I felt fresh, so I just told myself that I have to keep running”,said Fritz.

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