Davidovich Fokina beats Fritz to set up Monte Carlo halfback with Dimitrov

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Monte-Carlo (Principality of Monaco) (AFP) – Alejandro Davidovich Fokina reached his first Masters semi-final on Friday adding Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz to his top-flight scalps this week with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory in Monte Carlo that provoked a confrontation with the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.

The 22-year-old Spaniard, ranked 46th in the world, ousted world number one Novak Djokovic in the second round.

On Saturday, he will face Dimitrov, who beat Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7/2), for a place in the final.

“When you beat world number one, it gives you a lot of confidence physically, mentally and technically,” said Davidovich Fokina.

“I push myself every game to play harder and harder.”

Fritz struggled even in the first set when his Spanish opponent put on the pressure – the American complained of stomach pains twice before seeking treatment from a doctor near the pitch.

The 10th-seeded American, who ended Rafael Nadal’s unbeaten start to the season to lift his maiden Masters trophy at Indian Wells in March, nevertheless secured the opening set with a second break of serve.

Davidovich Fokina fought back and leveled the game with his first set point when Fritz, surprised the Spaniard collected a spike, sent his shot.

A clean smash from Fritz gave Davidovich Fokina two match points, the first of which was saved but the Spaniard made no mistake with the second, hitting a sublime right-handed winner.

“The emotions of being in the semi-finals are so strong,” said Davidovich Fokina, who reached the quarter-finals in Monte Carlo last year.

“I take advantage of every point. In the first set I had a lot of break chances but I didn’t. But I just stayed focused and believed in myself.”

Davidovich Fokina beat Dimitrov in their only previous meeting on clay in Rome last year.

Frustrated: Poland’s 11th seed Hubert Hurkacz had served for the match before losing to Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in Monte Carlo Valéry HACHEAFP

Dimitrov sealed victory in a thrilling final-set tie-break to reach the semi-finals in Monte Carlo for the second time after 2018.

The Bulgarian got the only first-set break to like in the third game and held on to his advantage with 11th-placed Hurkacz doing the same in the second, breaking 4-2 with back-to-back bunts that took his opponent to 29th in the deprived.

In a thrilling third set, the Pole broke twice and served for the match at 5-4, but the former world number three clawed his way back, dominating in two hours, 27 minutes to continue his push to reach a third. Masters final.

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