Shanghai | Dimitrov shocks Alcaraz in last 16

The shocks continue at the Rolex Shanghai Masters and Wednesday provided the biggest of the lot at the city’s Qi Zhong Tennis Centre, when Grigor Dimitrov knocked out the top seed and world No.2, Carlos Alcaraz at the quarter final stage.

He doesn’t like being on the back foot. I was coming in quite a little bit and trying to put him in awkward positions Grigor Dimitrov

The Bulgarian, a former world No.3 and, aged 32, the oldest player left in the draw, produced some of the tennis which took him to the to ATP Finals title in 2017 as he recovered from dropping the opening set to progress past the 20-year-old Spaniard, 5-7 6-2 6-4 after two-hours and 9-minutes of tense play.

It was also the first time Dimitrov had succeeded in beating Alcaraz in four meetings and if he can maintain this level of tennis, he could be adding a second Masters title to his C.V. and increase his current tally of career titles to nine.

He finished the match after delivering 29 winners and 10 aces and broke Alcaraz four times from the five chances he raised — in the decider, he lost just 6 points on serve and never faced a break point.

“I stayed in the match, that was the first thing, especially after the first set,” a very satisfied Dimitrov said after eliminating the title favourite. “I was serving very well throughout the first set and he made a few errors. I pushed him to make a lot of errors at certain moments. At 4-5 he played an amazing game and another at 6-5 (but) I was creating a lot of opportunities.

“After the second break in the second set I think I understood his service games and was able to put more balls in and read his serve a bit better. I think in the third set it was a bit of cat-and-mouse. I think we both played a solid set. He made a few errors, and I was very solid and served well when I had to.

“I knew what I had to do,” Dimitrov added. “I knew I had to apply constant pressure against him. Even if I was down, even if my shots were not good enough, I had to put him in uncomfortable positions.

“He doesn’t like being on the back foot. I was coming in quite a little bit and trying to put him in awkward positions.”


Grigor Dimitrov shakes hand with Carlos Alcaraz after inflicting a loss on the Spaniard

Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)

Alcaraz now holds a 63-9 record for the season and in his last five events since winning Wimbledon, has failed to add another title to his C.V. which has damaged his hopes of ending the year at the top of the world rankings.

The Spaniard was chasing his seventh crown of 2023 and third at ATP Masters 1000 level having clinched those at Indian Wells and Madrid this season.

“I was all the time fighting to find a way to put the match on my own game, but I couldn’t,” Alcaraz admitted after his loss. “I think that was the key of the match. I was all the time defending, I couldn’t find the other way to put myself in a position to attack.

“Comparing to the matches that we have played before, you know, he was on another level today. So, congratulations to him, and, you know, I have to be better if I want to beat this Grigor.”


Nicolas Jarry (R) shakes hands with Diego Schwartzman after beating the Argentine in a battle of South Americans

. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Dimitrov will now face Nicolas Jarry, the six-foot-six Chilean who progressed past Argentina’s diminutive (in comparison) Diego Schwartzman in the battle of South Americans, 6-3 5-7 6-3.

In other action fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev defeated 12th-seeded Tommy Paul of the US 7-5 7-5 and, as the only top 10 player left in the field, takes over the mantle of title favourite to add to the lone Masters title he secured in Monte Carlo earlier this year.

The Russian faces the French lefty Ugo Humbert who powered past another American, JJ Wolf in 52-minutes, 6-1 6-2.


Andrey Rublev in action against Tommy Paul

(Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)

“I was able to be a bit more calm, [not] get frustrated, especially when he broke me in the first set,” Rublev said. “I was playing really well. I was a bit unlucky that I had 15-40 in the beginning, and he played two points really good. Then he broke me and I was able to keep the same level. That’s why I was able to break him back, and in the end, I was able to be a bit more lucky and play a bit better at the end of both sets.”


Ugo Humbert reaches his first Masters quarter final

(Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

The first of the quarter finals played on Thursday features the bottom half of the draw with Ben Shelton facing Sebastian Korda in an all-American encounter after the conclusion of Hungary’s Fabian Marozsan’s match with Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz.

The other two quarterfinals will be played on Friday.


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