Devastating Dimitrov downs Alcaraz in Miami

Bulgarian will return to Top 10 if he makes final
March 29, 2024
Grigor Dimitrov defeats top seed Carlos Alcaraz on Thursday at Hard Rock Stadium. By ATP Staff

Grigor Dimitrov ended Carlos Alcaraz’s chances of completing the ‘Sunshine Double’ Thursday at the Miami Open presented by Itau, where the Bulgarian ousted the top seed 6-2, 6-4 in the quarter-finals.

The 32-year-old was bold in maintaining aggression, crushing 24 winners, and producing variety to defeat the Indian Wells champion, who was riding a nine-match winning streak.

“I think overall to win against him you have to play at your best, that’s just how it is,” Dimitrov said. “I came into the match very focussed and I think [it was] extremely clear what I had to do.

"Sometimes simplicity is genius. It’s very, very hard to do it, especially when you play against an opponent like that, but I was really able to dictate the game, read the game a little bit better than last time. Overall, I think a very great match on my end and I’m just happy I finished in straight sets.”

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With celebrities such as Mike Tyson and Jimmy Butler in attendance, Dimitrov bruised the ball as he kept a tight court position and redirected the ball at ease, even striking several return winners inside the baseline. Aiming for his second Masters 1000 crown (2017 Cincinnati), Dimitrov often worked his way forward, winning 12 of his 16 net points, according to Infosys ATP Stats.

Dimitrov led as big as 6-2, 4-1 with a chance to go up a double break, but was forced to fight off a late charge from the two-time major champion.

The nine-time tour-level titlist earned a crucial break at 4-5 in the second set to seal the one-hour, 32-minute match and improve to 2-3 in his Lexus ATP Head2Head series with the World No. 2. Dimitrov, who beat the Spaniard in Shanghai last October, has now won the past two meetings.

“I was just using every opportunity I had. I think every second serve I had, I was attacking it. I was making sure I was putting him in a very difficult position,” said Dimitrov, who fended off four of five break points faced. “I had to keep on being aggressive, come to the net, move the ball around and not let him hit.”

Now into the Miami semi-finals for the first time, Dimitrov has reached the last four at eight of the nine ATP Masters 1000 tournaments. Friday’s clash against fourth seed Alexander Zverev will mark Dimitrov’s fourth semi-final of 2024. Dimitrov boasts a 19-4 season record with his best result being a title run in Brisbane.

Up to No. 11 in the PIF ATP Live Rankings, Dimitrov will return to the Top 10 for the first time since 2018 if he makes the Miami final.

The 20-year-old Alcaraz, now 15-4 on the season, was aiming to match his Miami semi-final result from last year and become the first player to reach three consecutive semis in south Florida since Novak Djokovic in 2014-16. 

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