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

Monte Carlo (AFP/APP): Alejandro Davidovich Fokina reached his first Masters semi-final on Friday adding Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz to his high profile scalps this week with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 win in Monte Carlo which set up a clash with 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 play Dimitrov, who battled past Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7/2), for a place in the final.
“When you beat the world number one it gives you a lot of confidence physically, mentally and technically,” said Davidovich Fokina.
“I am pushing myself every match to play harder and harder.” Fritz had problems even in the first set as his Spanish opponent piled on the pressure — the American complaining of stomach pains twice before receiving treatment from a doctor courtside.
The 10th-seeded American, who ended Rafael Nadal’s unbeaten start to the season to lift his maiden Masters trophy in Indian Wells in March, nevertheless secured the first set with a second break of serve.
Davidovich Fokina battled back and levelled the match with his first set point when Fritz, surprised at the Spaniard retrieving a smash, sent his shot out.
A netted 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 to be in the semi-finals are so high,” said Davidovich Fokina, who reached the Monte Carlo quarter-finals last year. “I am enjoying every point. In the first set I had a lot of chances to break but I didn’t do it. But I just stayed focused and believed in myself.”
Davidovich Fokina beat Dimitrov in their only previous meeting on clay in Rome last year.
Dimitrov sealed victory in a thrilling final set tie-break to reach the last four in Monte Carlo for the second time after 2018.
The Bulgarian secured the only break of the first set to love in the third game and held his advantage with 11th-ranked Hurkacz doing likewise in the second, breaking 4-2 with consecutive drop shots that caught his 29th-ranked opponent off-guard.
In a gripping third set, the Pole broke twice and was serving for the match at 5-4, but the former world number three clawed his way back, going on to dominate in two hours, 27 minutes to continue his push to reach a third Masters final.