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Dimitrov Completes Comeback to stun Medvedev, Taylor Fritz Continues at Indian Wells Tennis

Grigor Dimitrov rallied from a one-set, 1-4 deficit to topple top-seeded Daniil Medvedev at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 13 October 2021. EPA-EFE/RAY ACEVEDO

By Ricky Dimon

Daniil Medvedev was 16-1 in his last 17 matches heading into the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open. Grigor Dimitrov was 2-23 lifetime against top-2 opponents.

None of that mattered on Wednesday.

What looked like a straightforward afternoon at the office for Medvedev much of the way turned into one of the biggest victories of Dimitrov’s career–a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 upset of Indian Wells’ top seed. Dimitrov recovered from a set down and a double-break down in the second to stun Medvedev after two hours and 14 minutes of play.

“I don’t know,” the 30-year-old Bulgarian said when asked about how he turned it around. “I guess I stayed in the game. I think it was very important to stay in the game…. The first two points at 4-1 was where everything started to turn around for me a little bit. I think little by little I was just trying to stay in the game, stay in the moment, and really fight through every opportunity I had. I really had to go for it.

“Of course, at some point I really had to alter my game a little bit to kind of adapt towards the lead. After the second break it was 4-all, then I had a very good service game. Then, yeah, I didn’t expect to break him at 5-4 but I picked up on all the serves he went for. His percentage of the serve dropped a lot. That was giving a lot more looks for me.”

“There are three things I want to say, because tennis is not about just one thing,” Medvedev explained. “First of all I don’t remember myself losing four service games (in a row) on hard courts. That shows how slow this court is and the conditions (are) more like clay, I would say—which I don’t like. To lose four times the serve is just unacceptable.

“Second, I knew that during the day, (it’s) much tougher to control the ball for me, especially on the serve.

“Third thing, Grigor–(I’m) going to be straightforward–if he plays like this like he did starting from 4-1, he’s going to win the tournament.”

Taylor Fritz topped Jannik Sinner of Italy at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 13 October 2021. EPA-EFE/RAY ACEVEDO

Dimitrov is not the only quarterfinalist with surprise title hopes. Taylor Fritz joined the world No. 28 in the last eight when the 39th-ranked American engineered another Indian Wells upset by beating Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-4.

Fritz struck six aces and broke Sinner five times over the one hour and 40 minutes.

“It’s huge for me,” the 23-year-old commented. “It’s big especially to have a good win against [Matteo Berrettini] yesterday, then kind of come back and play even better today against another really good player. Just play my game, play it well, play confidently, just close it out. It feels great to do it. Also it’s such a special tournament to me, as well…. This is a home tournament for me basically. It means a lot. Also my first Masters 1000 quarterfinal.”

Fritz, a California native, will go up against Zverev in the quarterfinals on Friday. Dimitrov is facing Hubert Hurkacz on Thursday.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.