Andrey Rublev and Grigor Dimitrov have won through their quarter final matches to make up the second semi-final at this year’s Rolex Shanghai Masters being played in the city’s Qi Zhong Tennis Centre.
It is going to be a tough match. He is a friend and I like him, and he is a really great player. It is really tough to beat him when he is in this form. This week he is playing really well. Andrey Rublev
Rublev brought the quarter final stage to a close when he dismissed Frenchman Ugo Humbert in 90-minutes of dominant play, 6-2 6-3, after Dimitrov had inflicted earlier in the day, a 7-6(2) 6-4 defeat over the Chilean 6’6” Nicolas Jarry. His win took 96-minutes!
The fifth seeded Russian broke Humbert five times and while the Frenchman tried to make a match of it in the second by breaking back to level early, Rublev never looked under pressure to reclaim the lead and sweep through the last four games from 3-2 down to claim his last four spot and avenge the loss he suffered in Beijing.
“The match in Beijing, both of us played great tennis and I had chances. I was serving for the match. He was playing really well that match and I tried to analyse what I did wrong in that match,” Rublev explained.
“I tried to not make the same mistakes today and I did really well. I am happy to win in straight sets. I played a great match today.”
Meanwhile Dimitrov, following his excellent win over the top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz in the previous round, maintained his form to ease past Chilean No.1 Jarry, especially on his serve which he held throughout the match. He in fact never faced a break point and earned his lone break to go up 4-3 in the second.
“I think there were many components going the right way today,” the Bulgarian former world No.3 said. “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 is into his 9th Masters semi-final while Rublev will be playing his 5th in what will be the pair’s seventh meeting having shared the previous six with their last played in Vienna last year which Dimitrov claimed.
“It is going to be a tough match,” Rublev said of Dimitrov. “He is a friend and I like him, and he is a really great player. It is really tough to beat him when he is in this form. This week he is playing really well.”
The other semi is being played between Hubert Hurkacz of Poland and Sebastian Korda of the US who are also tied in previous meetings, 1-1.
Of the four semi-finalists, three are previous Masters champions: Rublev (2023 Monte Carlo), Hurkacz (2021 Miami) and Dimitrov (2017 Cincinnati and ATP Finals) while Korda is playing his first semi-final at a 1000 event.