Djokovic Crushes Tsitsipas To Set Up Dimitrov Semi-Final In Paris

File Photo: Novak Djokovic

 

Novak Djokovic said he played “one of his best matches of the season” to thrash seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-1, 6-2 on Friday and set up a Paris Masters semi-final against Grigor Dimitrov.

The 32-year-old, battling Rafael Nadal for the year-end world number one spot, dispatched Greek star Tsitsipas in only 58 minutes.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion went into the match with a 2-1 losing record against Tsitsipas, but put the young world number seven in his place with a commanding victory.

“I played one of the best matches of the season,” said Djokovic. “I prepared myself very well for this match.

“I lost to Stefanos about three weeks ago in Shanghai. And obviously I went through the videos and understanding on what I did well, what I didn’t do so well, what I can do better.”

Djokovic will be usurped by Nadal at the top of the rankings next week, but can ensure the fight to be the best player at the end of the year reaches the ATP Tour Finals in London by winning a record-extending fifth title at Bercy.

The crushing defeat ended Tsitsipas’ run of three consecutive semi-finals and dealt a blow to his confidence ahead of his maiden appearance at the season-ending championships, which start on November 10.

Djokovic holds an 8-1 winning head-to-head record against Dimitrov, who saw off unseeded Chilean Cristian Garin 6-2, 7-5 earlier in the day.

“He (Dimitrov) has been one of the best talents we had in the sport in the last decade,” said Djokovic, who is bidding to tie Pete Sampras’ record of finishing as the year-end number one on six occasions.

“He’s been playing some terrific tennis this week… I don’t play too bad myself, so it’s going to be for sure a good one.”

Irrepressible Djokovic

Tsitsipas made a nightmare start, as back-to-back double faults gifted his illustrious opponent a break in just the second game.

Djokovic had been struggling with illness earlier in the week and laboured past Corentin Moutet and Kyle Edmund in his first two matches, but was at his irrepressible best en route to a 5-0 lead.

Tsitsipas, encouraged by a packed crowd, avoided a first-set bagel by saving three set points, only for Djokovic to serve it out in the following game after a mere 28 minutes on court.

The 21-year-old’s misery was compounded by a time violation in the third game of the second set, and Serbian Djokovic duly broke his serve.

Another break to love helped the top seed forge 5-1 in front, and Tsitsipas’ humiliation was complete when he carved a forehand wide on match point.

Former world number three Dimitrov last reached the semis at a Masters tournament in Monte Carlo in 2018, but has rediscovered his form in recent weeks after heading into the US Open ranked 78th.

The Bulgarian became the lowest-ranked player to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since 2008 at Flushing Meadows, before losing to Daniil Medvedev.

Dimitrov has now won three consecutive matches in straight sets at Bercy, where he had lost in the third round in each of the previous six years.

World number 42 Garin, playing in his first Masters quarter-final, served for the second set at 5-4, but the 28-year-old Dimitrov reeled off three straight games to claim an impressive victory.

Later Friday, second seed Nadal takes on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga while Gael Monfils, who is still in contention for a place at the ATP Finals, faces Canada’s Denis Shapovalov.

Dimitrov Double-Faults His Way Out Of China Open

Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria reacts after winning a point during his men’s singles first round match against Tennys Sandgren of the US at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on October 2, 2018.
FRED DUFOUR / AFP

Third seed Grigor Dimitrov was on the end of a major shock at the China Open on Wednesday, dumped out in the second round by Serbian qualifier Dusan Lajovic.

The Bulgarian was shaky on his serve all match, totting up nine double faults as Lajovic defeated him 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

Dimitrov, the world number eight, becomes the first major men’s name to exit the Beijing hardcourt tournament.

Top seed Juan Martin del Potro faces Russia’s Karen Khachanov later Wednesday hoping to avoid the same fate.

AFP

Dimitrov Defeats Thiem At ATP Finals

Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov (R) embraces Austria’s Dominic Thiem after his three-set victory on day two of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament at the O2 Arena in London on November 13, 2017. Glyn KIRK / AFP

Grigor Dimitrov held his nerve to launch his ATP Finals campaign with a 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 victory over Dominic Thiem on Monday, as Rafael Nadal prepared to start his quest for the biggest title missing from his impressive collection.

The elegant Bulgarian had the edge for most of an enthralling contest of one-handed backhands in front of a sizeable crowd at London’s O2 Arena but admitted he felt “pretty nervous” in his first appearance at the end-of-season showpiece.

The sixth seed, who has enjoyed the best season of his career, looked wobbly as he blew his chance to serve for the match at 5-4 in the decider only to hit back immediately as Thiem himself faltered, sealing victory on his third match point.

“I’m not going to lie — I was pretty nervous, my first match out here,” said Dimitrov.

“I’m just very grateful to win that match, especially in that manner. It’s never easy to come out here and play for the first time.”

A single break was enough for Dimitrov to take the first set, with his fourth-seeded opponent only managing to land 37 percent of first serves on the zippy blue court.

In a tight second set, the 26-year-old earned a potentially decisive break point in the 11th game but Thiem, whose service numbers improved significantly, held firm and went on to break to love in the next game to level the match.

In a topsy-turvy decider, Dimitrov engineered a break and served for the match only for Thiem to hit back, but that only brought a stay of execution for the Austrian, who served two double faults to hand the advantage back to his opponent.

Later, Nadal takes on David Goffin in the second match in the Pete Sampras group, with questions over his fitness after the Spaniard admitted he was not training at 100 percent following his withdrawal from the Paris Masters with a knee injury.

The world number one has won 75 singles titles in his illustrious career, including 16 Grand Slams and 30 Masters events but he has yet to win the ATP Finals in seven previous appearances.

In the absence of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, all eyes are on a potential showdown in London between Nadal and Roger Federer, who started his bid for a seventh ATP Finals title with a straight-sets victory against American Jack Sock on Sunday.

In the other match in the Boris Becker group, rising star Alexander Zverev beat Marin Cilic in three sets.

The ATP Finals feature the top eight fit male singles players and doubles teams that have accrued the most points throughout the 2017 season.

The tournament is organised on a round-robin basis, with the best two from each group progressing to the semi-finals.

AFP

Krygios, Dimitrov Win Tiebreakers To Advance To Cincinnati Final

Australian Nick Kyrgios overcame Spanish veteran David Ferrer on Saturday to set up a clash against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov in the final of the Cincinnati Open.

The 22-year-old Kyrgios, looking for his first title of the year, beat the former world number three 7-6(3) 7-6(4), while Dimitrov also advanced to his first Masters 1000 final with a 7-6(4) 7-6(10) victory over American John Isner.

Kyrgios, who had beaten Rafa Nadal in the quarter-finals, showed no drop-off in performance against the 35-year-old Ferrer in the match that lasted just over two hours.

Seventh seed Dimitrov needed almost two hours to book his place in Sunday’s final.

The world number 11 had his work cut out against big-serving Isner, with neither player dropping serve in a match where break opportunities were few and far between.

Isner had two break point chances, Dimitrov only one.

Nick Krygios said,”Yeah I’m gonna really look forward to that, Grigor’s a great player and a great guy as well so I’m looking forward to going out there and just compete and we’ll see what happens.”

Dimitrov saved a setpoint in the second set tiebreak, before putting away the dogged American.

Results:
7-Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) beat 14-John Isner (U.S.) 7-6(4) 7-6(10)

Dimitrov, Lopez Go Through At Queen’s Club

Dimitrov, Lopez Go Through At Queen's ClubGrigor Dimitrov, who won the Queen’s Club title in 2014, made it through after a mid-match hiccup against young Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Bulgarian Dimitrov, seeded six, won the opening five games but made life difficult for himself before winning 6-3 3-6 6-3.

Medvedev, ranked 60, was a break up in the decider but Dimitrov hit back to win with something to spare.

He will face Spain’s 35-year-old Feliciano Lopez, who beat seventh seed Tomas Berdych 7-6(5) 6-7(1) 7-5, in Saturday’s semi-finals.