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Ricky’s preview and pick for the Rotterdam semifinals: Medvedev vs. Dimitrov

Daniil Medvedev fell outside the top 10 following the Australian Open. It looks like he doesn’t plan on staying there long.

The former world No. 1 will be back in the top 10 if reaches the final of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. Standing in his way on Saturday is Grigor Dimitrov, who trails the head-to-head series 4-2–including 4-1 on hard courts. They most recently faced each other this past fall on the indoor hard courts of Vienna, where Medvedev cruised 6-4, 6-2.

Since dropping the opening set of his week in Rotterdam, Medvedev has not been tested at all. The 27-year-old overcame Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, erased Botic van de Zandschulp 6-2, 6-2, and then crushed defending champion Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinals. Medvedev is now a solid 8-2 this season with losses only to Novak Djokovic in Adelaide and Sebastian Korda at the Australian Open.

Similarly, Dimitrov’s only setbacks in 2023 have come at the hands of Djokovic (Aussie Open) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (United Cup). The 28th-ranked Bulgarian appeared to be on his way to a third loss on Friday when he trailed Alex de Minaur by a break in the third set and then 6-4 in the third-set tiebreaker. Dimitrov saved both match points before triumphing 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(6) by converting an incredible match point of his own. That result was preceded by a 6-1, 6-3 rout of Aslan Karatsev and a 7-6(4), 7-6(5) upset of No. 5 seed Hubert Hurkacz.

“I kind of know the plan for the game,” Medvedev assured. “The thing is, he is going to try to do the same–to make up a good plan. If we take the last two matches, it’s 1-1. So I always say a new match is a new match, no matter the head-to-head.

“I’m preparing for a tough one tomorrow. He’s such a great player and today was a great match from him; a great comeback, actually. So I’m ready for the tough fight.”

Dimitrov won’t go away without a fight, as De Minaur found out the hard way in the quarterfinals, but this not a favorable matchup for the 31-year-old. Medvedev’s defense is just as good if not better and the Russian wields much more firepower with his serve and even off the ground. Friday’s flawless performance against Auger-Aliassime should have Medvedev on his way to the final and perhaps even to the title.

Pick: Medvedev in 2

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