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Dimitrov defeats Alcaraz, sets up surprising quarterfinal lineup at Shanghai Masters

The mass exodus of top seeds at the Rolex Shanghai Masters continued with the very top one on Wednesday.

World No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz, who was the No. 1 seed in Shanghai as a result of Novak Djokovic’s absence, is out following a 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 fourth-round loss at the hands of Grigor Dimitrov. Previously 0-4 lifetime in the head-to-head series, Dimitrov got the job done after two hours and 10 minutes.

The Bulgarian also had a chance to take the first set. He led 5-3 before losing four games in a row but was quick to get back on track with an immediate break in the second set. From there Dimitrov never looked back. Another quick break of Alcaraz at 1-1 in the third proved be decisive for the 32-year-old.

“I stayed in the match, that was the big thing–especially after that first set,” Dimitrov commented. “I don’t know what happened to him at 5-4. He played an amazing game at 5-4, and at 6-5 another amazing game. I was creating opportunities; I kept on believing that I would get another one and another one. I think after that second break in the second set, I was able to put quite a few returns in and I was able to read the game a little bit better. I think in the third set it was a little bit cat-and-mouse to be honest. We both played a solid set; he made a few errors. I stayed throughout the course very solid.

“I knew what I had to do against him; I knew I had to apply constant pressure. I had to keep putting him in an uncomfortable position. He’s a player who doesn’t like to be on the back foot; I mean which player does, right? I kept on using every opportunity I had; I was coming in a little bit, trying to put him in an awkward position.”

Next up for Dimitrov is Nicolas Jarry, while the top half of the Shanghai bracket also includes Andrey Rublev and Ugo Humbert. At No. 7 in the world, Rublev is the highest-ranked player remaining at this tournament. You have to go all the way down to No. 17 (Hubert Hurkacz) to find the next man.

Had Rublev lost to Paul, this would have been the first Masters 1000 event ever without a top-10 seed in the quarterfinals.

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