Grigor Dimitrov backed up his upset of Carlos Alcaraz in style on Friday at the Rolex Shanghai Masters, where the Bulgarian downed Nicolas Jarry 7-6(2), 6-4 to reach the semi-finals for the first time at the Chinese ATP Masters 1000 event.
The 18th-seeded Dimitrov delivered a rock-solid display in the face of a big-serving barrage from Jarry to advance to the last four in Shanghai for the first time in seven attempts. He made just three unforced errors in his one-hour, 39-minute victory, frequently showcasing his high-quality movement around the court and delighting the crowd inside Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena with some breathtaking hand skills.
“I think there were many components going the right way today,” said Dimitrov, who himself dropped just four points behind first serve in the match. “For me, he is one of the best servers right now. I’ve played him a couple of times, and I feel like every time it gets tougher and tougher to return against him. In the most important moments, I was able to be just solid, nothing else.
“I don’t think I did anything crazy in those moments, I just kept on believing in my game, kept going after my shots. You don’t get many opportunities against him, especially in the beginning it’s very difficult because he doesn’t give you any rhythm… I was trying to apply pressure with the hope that he might make a few mistakes, and he did.”
Dimitrov had notched his biggest win of the season by beating World No. 2 Alcaraz in the fourth round in Shanghai, but he entered Friday’s match with Jarry having lost both of the pair’s previous Lexus ATP Head2Head clashes. He appeared the more settled throughout, however, as he dominated the first-set tie-break before claiming a decisive break in the seventh game of the second set. It was just the second time the Chilean had dropped serve all tournament.
Now into his fifth ATP Tour semi-final of the season, Dimitrov is 35-18 as he looks to add another Masters 1000 title to his 2017 Cincinnati triumph. He acknowledged that Wednesday’s win against top seed Alcaraz, his first against a Top 5 opponent since 2021, had given him a boost heading into the Jarry encounter.
“[Beating Alcaraz] helps confidence-wise, but also it was just another match, if you think about it,” said Dimitrov. “I didn’t have much time to overthink it, I just had a little bit of a chat with the team and tried to see what I did pretty good, what worked, what didn’t, and what I could do better in the next round.
“We didn’t have much time to think about that but of course I take all the positives out of it because you need to feed off this every single round. I think so far things are good and I need to keep on going.”
Dimitrov has now reached the semi-finals at seven of the nine Masters 1000 events. He will try to reach his second championship match at that level on Saturday, when he faces fifth seed Andrey Rublev or 32nd seed Ugo Humbert.
The Bulgarian is also up three spots to No. 16 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings as a result of his run in China so far. Dimitrov could rise as high as No. 11 in Monday’s update of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings by lifting the Shanghai trophy, which would be his highest position since October 2018.