ATP

Rublev, Fritz secure semi-final berths at Indian Wells

By Sports Desk March 18, 2022

Andrey Rublev made his fourth ATP Masters semi-final on Friday, dispatching Grigor Dimitrov in under 90 minutes at Indian Wells in a 7-5 6-2 win.

Dimitrov had only faced two break points for the tournament until this quarter-final, and Rublev capitalised when his opponent’s serve evaded him. Rublev was returning with particular focus, getting 85 per cent of points back across the court on Dimitrov's first serve alone.

Rublev broke in the fifth game of the first set on the back of two double faults, but Dimitrov secured one of his own with a trademark backhand pass. The 24-year-old Russian answered right back to regain breathing room and close out a tight first set.

Securing the break in the third game of the second, that consistent pressure on Dimitrov's serve again forced two double faults in the fifth game. From there at 4-1, Rublev saw the finish line.

The win was the seventh seed’s 13th in a row, adding Indian Wells to semi-final appearances at Miami, Monte Carlo and Cincinnati. A win in the final would equal a career-high 15 matches in a row undefeated.

"I think I played really well. In the beginning, it was more about who will be the first to dictate and play more aggressive, because both of us like to dictate with our forehand," Rublev said afterwards.

"The return [of serve] was one of the most important things. If you can bring as many returns as possible [into the court], and then here with these conditions, in some moments it's tough to serve."

In Friday's other quarter-final, Taylor Fritz did it tough against the unseeded Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, winning 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 6-1.

While Kecmanovic was content playing defence and grinding from the baseline, Fritz was the more active and it was most apparent at 5-5 in the first set.

Down 0-30, Fritz stood and delivered from the middle of the baseline with a booming forehand, before securing a critical hold.

The difference in tactics showed in the eventual winner differential, with Fritz's 35 in comparison to Kecmanovic's 15. Despite Fritz's relatively low unforced error count, he still gifted Kecmanovic the second set, serving three consecutive double faults to surrender the break at 3-4.

He regrouped and reeled off the opening five games of the third set, setting up his semi-final with Rublev. The other semi-final will see Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz meet in an all-Spanish duel.

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