Grigor Dimitrov ousts top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz in the Miami Open quarterfinals

Grigor Dimitrov ousts top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz in the Miami Open quarterfinals
Grigor Dimitrov ousts top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz in the Miami Open quarterfinals

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - MIAMI GARDENS, Florida: Eleventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov came out strong against top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz on Thursday night and went on to win 6-2, 6-4 in the Miami Open quarterfinals, his first victory over a top-five player in nearly five years.

Fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev, who beat unseeded Fabian Marozsan 6-3, 7-5, will play Dimitrov in the semifinals Friday. Second-seeded Jannik Sinner will face No. 3 Daniil Medvedev in the other semifinal, a rematch of last year’s final that Medvedev won.

Dimitrov said he didn’t want to evaluate the quality of his play against Alcaraz “since I have to play again tomorrow. I’m trying to stay on point. This is how our sport is. You appreciate it, of course. You’re very happy with the current win. Then you have to quickly move on and start focusing on the next match.”

Alcaraz, the 2022 champion, entered this tournament off a victory over Medvedev at Indian Wells. But the world’s second-ranked player had trouble finding his game against Dimitrov and became visibly frustrated numerous times in the first set.

But Alcaraz didn’t go away even after falling behind a break at 4-2 in the second set. He broke Dimitrov at love and then held serve to even the set at 4-4. Dimitrov, though, won the final two games, breaking Alcaraz in the clincher.

Alacaraz said Dimitrov played “almost perfect.”

“I have a lot of frustrations right now because he made me feel like I’m 13 years old,” the 20-year-old Alcaraz said. “It was crazy. I was talking to my team saying that I don’t know what I have to do. I don’t know his weakness. I don’t know anything.”

This was Dimitrov’s first victory over a top-five player since he beat then-No. 3 Roger Federer in the quarterfinals of the 2019 US Open.

On the women’s side, fourth-seeded Elena Rybakina once again had to go three sets, pushed to the edge before beating No. 27 Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 0-6, 7-6 (2) in the semifinals.

Rybakina, ranked fourth on the WTA Tour, will on Saturday face unseeded Danielle Collins, who defeated No. 14 Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3, 6-2. Rybakina also made last year’s final, losing in straight sets to Petra Kvitová.

“This year, it’s much different,” Rybakina said. “I was not expecting, honestly, to be in the final because I was not prepared that well for this tournament, but really happy that I managed to battle through all these matches and be in the final again.”

A day off will likely be welcome for Rybakina, who has been pushed to three sets in all but one match this tournament. Thursday’s match lasted 2 hours, 33 minutes, and she told the Tennis Channel that for the first time in her career, she has rested on the days between matches during a tournament.

“In the beginning, these long matches were helping me to get back in shape,” Rybakina said. “Now I’m not in shape just because I’m tired of all these long matches, but overall, it was really successful tournament no matter how I do in the final.”

Rybakina appeared to take control when she broke Azarenka’s serve to take a 3-2 lead in the third set. Azarenka fought off four break points before hitting a two-handed backhand into the net to give Rybakina the game.

It was quite a response from the second set when Azarenka lost only two points on her serve, and one came on a double fault.

But Azarenka wasn’t done. With Rybakina serving for the match, Azarenka broke back to even the final set at 5-5. Both players then held serve to send the match to a tiebreaker, which belonged to Rybakina, who went up 6-1. She wrapped up the victory with a cross-court forehand.

Rybakina is seeking her third title this year. She is 4-0 in her career against Azarenka, including two victories this year.

Azarenka, 34, was attempting to become the tournament’s oldest winner. She became the second-oldest semifinalist; 36-year-old Venus Williams made the semis in 2017.

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