Often hailed as ‘Baby Fed’ for his near-perfect skills and copy-book shot-making similar to the legendary Roger Federer – Grigor Dimitrov performed the unthinkable at the iconic Arthur Ashe arena on Wednesday. Dimitrov defeated Swiss maestro Federer in a gruelling five-set battle 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and 6-2 to advance into the men’s singles semifinals of US Open 2019. Dimitrov showed nerves of steel under pressure to overcome the hostile NY crowd and five-time Flushing Meadows champ Federer to storm into his first US Open semis. It is also going to be Dimitrov’s third semifinal appearance at a major.
After looking in imperious form through his third- and fourth-round matches, 20-time Grand Slam champ Federer was locked in a tough battle with unseeded Dimitrov. Many tennis pundits touted Federer as the favourite to lift the title after his potential path to the US Open final no longer includes nemesis and world number one Novak Djokovic — or anyone else who ever has beaten him on a hard court. But Dimitrov certainly had other plans on the night.
After winning the first and third sets 6-3 each, Federer allowed Dimitrov back into the match both times as he lost the second and fourth set 6-4 on both occasions. In the fifth and final set, the 28-year-old Dimitrov took control from the very beginning as he quickly racked up a double break and took a 4-0 lead, before closing out the quarterfinal with a score of 6-2 in the final set.
Earlier in his career, the Bulgarian has reached some of the highest highs in the sport, winning the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals and climbing as high as No. 3 in the ATP Rankings. But Dimitrov is at his lowest standing in more than seven years.
Interestingly, before this match, Federer boasted off an impeccable 6-0 head-to-head record against Dimitrov on hard courts. But after an inspiring show at the Arthur Ashe, Dimitrov has set up a mouth-watering semifinal clash against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, who defeated Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka in the other men’s singles quarterfinal.
Medvedev, at 23, becomes the youngest US Open semi-finalist since Novak Djokovic in 2010 and Russia’s first Slam semi-finalist since Mikhail Youzhny at the 2010 US Open.