Dimitrov outlasts Anderson to reach Toronto semis

Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov saved two match-points to beat Kevin Anderson a gruelling three-setter in the quarterfinal of the Rogers Cup in Toronto, making the semi-final stage of an ATP Masters 1000 tournament for the second time this season.

In front of a vocal crowd sporting numerous Bulgarian flags, Dimitrov prevailed 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6) in a match that stopped just short of the three-hour mark. He will play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the next round.

Despite holding a 4-1 career edge against Anderson, whom Dimitrov defeated in the final in Acapulco earlier this year for his first title of the season, the matches between the two have always been tightly contested.

This time was no different, with the two holding their serve without difficulty early on in the first set. The first break-point of the match came on Anderson’s serve with Dimitrov up 5-4, but the South African’s put in several big serves to bail himself out.

Dimitrov lost his next service game with several errors to give Anderson the first break of the match and the South African served out to win the first frame.

But the Bulgarian quickly recovered, breaking Anderson early in the second set and appeared to be cruising until he was broken back. Serving to force a tie-break, Anderson found himself in a hole early and handed the second set to Dimitrov with a double fault.

In the third set, Anderson repeatedly relied on strong serves at key moments to dig himself out of early holes and had two match points on his own serve at 5-4, but only to hit the net both times and allow Dimitrov back into the match.

The second miss was particularly jarring, Anderson missing the easiest of volleys at the net, and he appeared rattled by it, but still managed to push the set into a tie-break. He saved a match-point of his own, but then served another double fault to hand his opponent the match.

Dimitrov has rarely played at his best in Toronto and his first serve was particularly dire for long stretches against Anderson – he put only 45 per cent of his first serves into play in the first set and 50 per cent in the second – but has been able to pull through each time thus far.

He faces an opponent he has never beat before – Tsonga won all three previous encounters, but all of them came in 2011 – who is on a roll after scoring two upsets in defeating first seed Novak Djokovic and two-time Rogers Cup champion Andy Murray.

(Photo: Marianne Bevis/flickr.com)



The Sofia Globe staff

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