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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday October 1, 2021

 
Grigor Dimitrov

Grigor Dimitrov defeated Aslan Karatsev to claim a spot in his first ATP semifinal of 2021.

Photo Source: Getty

Grigor Dimitrov avenged a quarterfinal loss to Aslan Karatsev at this year’s Australian Open by taking down the 24th-ranked Russian in three sets on Friday in San Diego, 6-1, 1-6, 6-2.

Tennis Express

A lot has changed in the past 52 weeks for Karatsev. The Russian became the first ATP player to reach a semifinal on his Grand Slam main draw debut at the Australian Open, and rose in the rankings from 114 to 42 as a result of his success.

Eight months later he’s still very much a factor on tour, but tonight it was 29th-ranked Dimitrov who took the upper hand as he rebounded from a poor second set to take the play to the 28-year-old in a third set that was a lot closer than the scoreline.

Dimitrov broke three times on seven opportunities in the final set, and covered the court brilliantly, often catching Karatsev off guard with his flat running forehand. He also won 15 of 20 points against Karatsev's second serve in the decider, and clinched his win in one hour and 50 minutes.

It was a big victory for the Bulgarian – he had not reached a semifinal all season.

Dimitrov earns a clash with rising force Casper Ruud, the hard-hitting Norwegian who hit his way past Lorenzo Sonego in the first match of the San Diego night session, 6-1, 6-4.

The 22-year-old Norwegian, currently ranked 10, may be known for his prowess on clay, but he is starting to look like a force on the faster surfaces as well. The victory was Ruud’s 15th on a hard court this season, and he is into his first ATP semifinal on hard courts.

Ruud’s 15 wins on hard courts in 2021 are one shy of what his career total of hard court wins was after 2020 (16-27).

Ruud and Dimitrov have never met on tour.

The top half semifinal will feature Andrey Rublev and Cameron Norrie in San Diego. Read more about that matchup here.

 

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