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Isner wrecking fellow Americans in Cincinnati, Dimitrov awaits on semifinal Saturday


By Ricky Dimon


John Isner will once again take over as the top-ranked American when the next rankings come out on Monday. It’s only fitting, because Isner has been ousting fellow Americans left and right at the Western & Southern Open.


The world No. 19 opened with a victory over Viktor Troicki and has since disposed of three consecutive American wild cards–Tommy Paul, Frances Tiafoe, and Jared Donaldson. Not one opponent managed to take a set off Isner and none earned a single break of serve. ( all had good scores and competitive matches )


Isner’s run continued on Friday afternoon with a 7-6(4), 7-5 defeat of Donaldson. The 2013 Cincinnati runner-up fired 25 aces and held all 12 of his service games without facing a break point to advance in one hour and 30 minutes.


The streak of countrymen on the other side of the net, however, will come to an end on Saturday.


Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in action against Yuichi Sugita of Japan during their match in the Western & Southern Open at the Linder Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio, USA, 18 August 2017. EPA/TANNEN MAURY

Instead, Grigor Dimitrov awaits Isner in the semifinals. Dimitrov also has refused to surrender a single set in wins over Feliciano Lopez, Juan Martin Del Potro, and Yuichi Sugita. The 11th-ranked Bulgarian was especially dominant on Friday, when he trounced surprising quarterfinalist Yuichi Sugita 6-2, 6-1 in 52 minutes.


“It’s a good feeling, for sure,” Dimitrov said of reaching the semis. “I like playing in Cincinnati. I love that centre court, as well. I think all that brings me good memories and just a positive way of thinking when I come out there on the court.


“I think that was about it, to be honest. I didn’t think I did anything spectacular except playing the game the right way today. Just glad to get off court for about an hour. Save some energy and prepare for tomorrow.”


Isner and Dimitrov are joined in the last four by a resurgent David Ferrer, who beat Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-3.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.