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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Grigor Dimitrov

Grigor Dimitrov roared back from a one-set, 1-4 deficit toppling top-seeded Daniil Medvedev 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to charge into his first Indian Wells quarterfinals.

Photo credit: BNP Paribas Open Facebook

Top-seeded Daniil Medvedev transformed the purple court into tennis quicksand and Grigor Dimitrov was getting gobbled up.

Staring down a one set, 1-4 deficit to the US Open champion, a determined Dimitrov shrugged off the sink hole and launched his biggest comeback of the season.

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Dimitrov stormed through eight straight games shocking a deflated Medvedev in a rousing 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 triumph to charge into his first Indian Wells quarterfinal in eight appearances.

It is Dimitrov's third career victory over a Top-2 ranked player, including his first since 2016.

“He is such a tough player and competitor,” Dimitrov said after handing Medvedev his sixth hard-court loss of the season. “Over the past year, I have played him a few times and haven’t been able to find a way. But today, I just felt something at 1-4 and I calmed myself down and started to take better decisions and started to control the pace of the game, which I really believed helped me.

"In the end it was just very solid and smart play.”

Dimitrov did not panic at the dire deficit; he flipped the script flying through 11 of the final 14 games in a stirring rally. 

The Medvedev serve was misfiring over the final set and a half and Dimitrov exploited it snapping the Russian's 10-match winning streak and prompting a prediction: If Dimitrov plays at this level the rest of the way he will win the tournament the top seed said.

"First of all, I mean, I don't remember myself losing three service games, even four service games ever, I guess, on hard courts," Medvedev said. "That shows how slow this court is and the conditions, more like clay, I would say, which I don't like, because to lose four times the serve is just unacceptable. Yeah, that's why I lost the set.

"Second, I knew that during the day, much tougher to control the ball for me, especially on the serve. That's what we saw in some moments I couldn't pass my first serve. That's why I was asking to play at night, but this time it was not possible because I had a day off where other guys played yesterday and were supposed to play today, so they were playing late at night. That's completely normal, but I knew it's not going to advantage me.

"Third thing, Grigor, going to be straightforward, if he plays like this like he did starting from 4-1, he's going to win the tournament. But let's see the final result of the tournament."

Applying his all-court acumen, physicality and the slithering slice backhand, Dimitrov defeated Medvedev for the first time since the 2017 Queen's Club quarterfinals. Avenging his loss to the Russian in the 2019 US Open semifinals, Dimitrov advanced to a BNP Paribas Open quarterfinal clash vs. Hubert Hurkacz.

The eighth-seeded Hurkacz dismissed Australian Open semifinalist Aslan Karatsev 6-1, 6-3.

Miami Open champion Hurkacz is playing to make history as the first man to win the Sunshine Double—traditionally Indian Wells followed by Miami—in reverse following his Miami Open final win over Jannik Sinner last April with a BNP Paribas Open triumph.

The 23rd-seeded Dimitrov looked down and out as Medvedev punished his serve like a pinata breaking three times in a row in building the one set, 4-1 lead and pushing the Bulgarian to the brink.

A dynamic Dimitrov relied on his movement, ability to shift speeds and his superior transition game winning eight of the next 10 points to spark his surge. Medvedev is sixth on the ATP Tour in service games held, but Dimitrov used the sandpaper-slow surface to his advantage breaking the 6'6" Russian four times in a row to build a 3-0 third-set lead.

When Medvedev dropped the second set it was just the second set the world No. 2 had lost in his last 11 matches.

Afterward, Medvedev said Dimitrov's level of play exceeded any opponent he conquered at the US Open, including world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

"He definitely flipped the switch," Medvedev said of Dimitrov. "Talking about myself, I did become a little more tired maybe, and at the same time, it's not that I started missing everything and like really playing bad. I still maintained some level, if we can call it like this, so many matches it would be enough to finish the match. Yeah, that's a good thing.

"About Grigor, I have not much to say. He played second part of the match better than anybody did against me in US Open that I won. So again, playing this level, I don't see him losing to anybody, but let's see the result."

The 2017 ATP Finals champion extended his lead to 5-1 as a weary Medvedev lacked the legs to stage an extended comeback of his own.

Dimitrov tormented the Russian with the short slice eventually drawing one final forehand error to close a massive conquest in two hours, 14 minutes. It is Dimitrov's 99th career Masters 1000 victory. 


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