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Dimitrov overcomes Hurkacz, storms into semis at Indian Wells

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Indian Wells (USA), Oct 15 (IANS) Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov’s grand comeback continued at the BNP Paribas Open as he rallied from a set down to defeat Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in three sets to back up his stunning victory over top seed Daniil Medvedev in the previous round.

The Bulgarian fought back in a tight match to edge past the 24-year-old 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(2) and reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final of the season. With his victory, Dimitrov has now earned 100 Masters 1000 wins.

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After dropping the first set in his quarter-final clash with Hurkacz, Dimitrov saved two break points at 3-3, 15/40 in the second set, before he levelled via a net cord on set point, raising his arms in the air following an epic point between the pair. The World No. 28 then squandered a 5-2 lead in the decider, but regained his focus, eventually advancing after two hours and 40 minutes. The 23rd seed now leads Hurkacz 1-0 in their ATP Head2Head series, according to a report on ATP’s official website.

“I stayed in it,” Dimitrov said in his on-court interview. “Especially after that first set, it was very hard for me to find my range today. I was a little bit tired from yesterday an’ didn’t feel I really had enough time to rest and push, but I still felt and I knew I had something in me. I knew that I had to step up and be a little bit more aggressive.

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“I started reading his serve a little bit more and I had a few more looks. I kept trying and believing and I think that made the difference.”

Just 24 hours earlier, Dimitrov had battled back from a set and a double-break down against Medvedev in the fourth round to capture his first win over a top-two opponent since he defeated Andy Murray in Miami in 2016.

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The 30-year-old will next face Cameron Norrie after the Brit boosted his hopes to qualify for the ATP Finals by sweeping aside Diego Schwartzman 6-0, 6-2 to reach his maiden Masters 1000 semi-final.

Dimitrov, clearly turning out to be the comeback story of Indian Wells Masters, arrived in California in form, having enjoyed a run to the semi-finals in San Diego at the start of October, de’eating Russia’s Aslan Karatsev en route to the last four. Earlier this season, the Bulgarian reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open, where he beat then-World No. 3, Dominic Thiem. Dimitrov is aiming to win his first title since triumphing at the ATP Finals in 2017 and chasing his first final since Rotterdam in 2018.

Hurkacz is currently ninth (2,955 points) in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin and was aiming to reach his second Masters 1000 semi-final of the season as he looked to strengthen his bid to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at the Pala Alpitour in Turin from 14-21 November.

The Pole has earned a career-best 33 wins this season, clinching titles in Delray Beach and Metz, while clinching his first Masters 1000 crown in Miami. The eighth seed was trying to complete a unique sunshine double in the California desert.

–IANS

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