Dimitrov Downs Garin To Reach First Paris Semi-final
Bulgarian to meet Djokovic in last four
After emphatically snapping a six-match winless record in the third round of the Rolex Paris Masters on Thursday, Grigor Dimitrov claimed another straight-sets victory to book his place in the semi-finals on Friday.
Backing up his impressive 72-minute win against Dominic Thiem, the Bulgarian survived a late test to move past Cristian Garin 6-2, 7-5 in 89 minutes. Dimitrov is through to his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final since the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in April 2018.
“Everything has been fantastic so far,” said Dimitrov. “Everybody has been great. My family is here, the team is around, so it gives you a certain amount of comfort to perform. I feel very well surrounded and hopefully there are two more matches to play.”
Since dropping the opening set in his first-round match against Ugo Humbert, Dimitrov has claimed eight consecutive sets to improve to 13-7 at the ATP Masters 1000 event. The 28-year-old is through to his second semi-final of the year after making his third Grand Slam semi-final appearance at the US Open in September.
Dimitrov will meet Novak Djokovic for a spot in the championship match. The World No. 27 owns one victory from nine FedEx ATP Head2Head encounters against the four-time Paris titlist. Dimitrov will be aiming to reach his first final since a runner-up finish at last year’s ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament (l. to Federer).
Dimitrov started quickly, attacking Garin’s forehand and playing with variety to jump into a 3-0 lead. Dropping just four points behind his first serve (16/20), the eight-time ATP Tour titlist maintained his advantage to 5-2 before dictating play with his forehand to earn a second break and, with it, the first set.
After trading breaks early in the second set, Garin capitalised on a series of errors from Dimitrov to serve for the set at 5-4. But the Bulgarian raised his level to move through to the semi-finals. Dimitrov played with aggression on his forehand and varied the pace on his backhand to earn three straight games and a place in the last four.
“[In the second set] I wanted to go for a little bit more on my shots,” said Dimitrov. “There were quite a few taxing games, physically, and I was trying to rush it a little bit… He felt that. He saw that and started exploring different angles and a different game against me.
“But I saw it also right away, so he helped me to stay on track and I was close to losing the second set. But I kept pretty solid. I was focused throughout that [5-4] game and the other two. That was a great end.”
Garin ends his breakthrough season on the ATP Tour with a 31-22 record. The 23-year-old became the first Chilean to win an ATP Tour trophy since Fernando Gonzalez in 2009, lifting ATP 250 crowns on clay in Houston and Munich.