Dimitrov downs top-seeded Medvedev at Indian Wells

Andy Abeyta/The Desert Sun
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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Grigor Dimitrov outlasted top-seeded Daniil Medvedev 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open, extending the parade of upsets that has knocked out several top players.

Medvedev’s loss left the combined ATP and WTA tournament without its top two men’s and women’s seeds. Karolina Pliskova lost in the third round. No. 2 Iga Swiatek went out in the fourth round.

Dimitrov rallied from a set and double-break down to upset Medvedev, the U.S. Open champion who was chasing his fifth title of the year. Dimitrov, seeded 23rd, earned his first win over a Top-2 player since 2016, when he beat Andy Murray in Miami.

No. 2 Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Alex de Minaur 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3), 6-2, and No. 3 Alexander Zverev routed No. 14 Gael Monfils 6-1, 6-3.

Dimitrov reached the quarterfinals at Indian Wells for the first time. He’ll meet No. 8 Hubert Hurkacz, who beat 19th-seeded Asian Karatsev 6-1, 6-3.

“I always wanted to do well out here,” Dimitrov said. “I felt like I had so many chances throughout the years. I’ve lost very close matches, matches from match points and everything. I was very determined.”

Medvedev took control from the start, connecting on 80% of his first serves in the opening set. The Russian built a 4-1 lead in the second set before Dimitrov began turning the match around in front of a sparse crowd.

“He definitely flipped the switch,” Medvedev said. “If he plays like this, like he did starting from 4-1, he’s going to win the tournament.”

Dimitrov ran off five straight games to take the second set and even the match. The Bulgarian charged the net and closed out the match on Medvedev’s forehand that sailed long.

“He’s been the guy that has been playing the best out of everyone and always finding a way,” Dimitrov said. “It was a great, great match for me to win. But that’s not the end. That’s just another match at the same time. I got to stay focused and I got to look what’s ahead of me and move forward.”

Medvedev fell to 18-2 in North America over his last five events. He won in Toronto, reached the semifinals in Cincinnati, won the U.S. Open and then helped Team Europe beat Team World in the Laver Cup in Boston. He is 50-11 in matches this year, and is re-considering his plans to play in his hometown of Moscow next week.

“I really want to do, but yeah, I need to take care of my body,” Medvedev said. “I did feel exhausted this tournament.”

In women’s quarterfinals, former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka beat American Jessica Pegula 6-4, 6-2. Azarenka, the 2016 tournament champion, next plays 24th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko.

Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, beat Shelby Rogers 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 on the American’s 29th birthday.

“I feel like my tennis is getting better, more consistent,” Ostapenko said.

Attendance is limited to 60% capacity at Indian Wells Tennis Garden because of the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the tournament to the fall from its usual March date on the calendar.

Also reaching the quarterfinals were No. 11 Diego Schwartzman, No. 21 Cameron Norrie, No. 29 Nikoloz Basilashvili and American Taylor Fritz.

Schwartzman beat sixth-seeded Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3. Norrie ended the hopes of American Tommy Paul with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory. Basilashvili beat Karen Khachanov 6-4, 7-6 (6). Fritz, who grew up in the Los Angeles area and frequently attended the tournament as a youngster, beat No. 10 Jannik Sinner 6-4, 6-3.

“It’s nice to kind of put it together this week,” Fritz said.

U.S. sweeps Uzbekistan, advances to group stage in Davis Cup

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The United States swept its way into the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals, getting the winning point in a 4-0 victory over Uzbekistan from the doubles team of Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek.

They beat Sergey Fomin and Sanjar Fayziev 6-2, 6-4, after Tommy Paul and Mackenzie McDonald had won singles matches in Tashkent.

Ram is No. 3 in the ATP Tour doubles rankings and partnered with Joe Salisbury to win the last two U.S. Open men’s doubles titles. But the Americans opted not to use Ram last year in the final round, when they dropped the doubles match in a 2-1 defeat against Italy in the quarterfinals.

Krajicek was making his Davis Cup debut, having reached No. 9 in the doubles rankings late last year.

“They had five great days of preparation, and as anticipated they came out really sharp and got the early break in the first set. And after that it was like two freight trains, there was no stopping them,” interim captain David Nainkin said.

Denis Kudla then beat Amir Milushev 6-4, 6-4.

The winners of the 12 qualifiers being held this weekend advance to the Davis Cup Finals group stage in September, along with reigning champion Canada, 2022 runner-up Australia and wild-card recipients Italy and Spain.

Eight teams will advance to the closing matches of the Davis Cup Finals scheduled for Nov. 21-26 in Malaga, Spain.

In other matches:

France 3, Hungary 2: On indoor hard courts in Tatabanya, Hungary, Ugo Humbert won it for the French with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Fabian Marozsan. Adrian Mannarino had forced the deciding match by beating Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (6), 6-2.

Serbia 4, Norway 0: On indoor hard courts in Oslo, the visitors, playing without top-ranked Novak Djokovic, put away the match when Filip Krajinovic and Nikola Cacic edged Viktor Durasovic and Herman Hoeyeraal 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Hamad Medjedovic then outlasted Durasovic 6-4, 6-7, 10-4.

Sweden 3, Bosnia 1: On indoor hard courts in Stockholm, Mikael Ymer sent the hosts through by beating Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.

Lesia Tsurenko to face Zhu Lin in Thailand Open final

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HUA HIN, Thailand — Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine reached her first final in four years after the top-seeded Bianca Andreescu retired with a shoulder injury during their semifinal match at the Thailand Open.

Tsurenko, in search of her fifth WTA title, was leading the 2019 U.S. Open champion 7-5, 4-0 when the Canadian stopped playing.

The former world No. 23 fought from 3-5 down to take the first set and reeled off eight straight games before Andreescu retired with a right shoulder problem.

“Bianca is such an amazing player. She is capable of hitting all kinds of shots and gave so much trouble today,” said the 33-year-old Tsurenko, now ranked 136th. “But I was just fighting and I told myself positive things that I can do it. Unfortunately, she had to retire.”

The Ukrainian last lifted a WTA trophy in Acapulco in 2018 and hasn’t been to a final since Brisbane in 2019.

She will face Zhu Lin of China in the final.

“She had some good wins in the Australian Open,” Tsurenko said. “She is one of the dangerous players in this tournament. She is going to give a good fight.”

In the all-Chinese semifinal earlier, Zhu benefited from a barrage of unforced errors from Wang Xinyu and prevailed 6-2, 6-4 for her first WTA final.

The world No. 54 player, who reached the last 16 at the Australian Open in January, relied on her solid baseline game to force errors.

“It was very windy, so I tried to be patient and keep my first serves in,” said the 29-year-old Zhu, who will team up with Wang in the doubles final against Hao-Ching Chan and Fang-Hsien Wu of Taiwan.