download1 (7).jpg

Nick Kyrgios vs. Grigor Dimitrov: 10 Things to Know

We’ve already had several blockbuster match-ups during the first week of the 2018 season, and another one is taking place at the Brisbane International on Saturday: Grigor Dimitrov against Nick Kyrgios.

Here are ten things to know about the semifinal clash between these potential future No.1s:

1. Dimitrov barely escaped his first two rounds. The world No. 3 had to fight off two match points in a second-set tiebreaker to get past Australian wildcard John Millman in his opening match, 4-6, 7-6 (8), 6-3, before outlasting Kyle Edmund in the quarterfinals on Friday night, 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-4.

2. Kyrgios also had trouble in his first two matches. The Australian No. 1 struggled with a knee injury during a 6-7 (3), 7-6 (5), 6-2 win over Australian No. 2 Matthew Ebden in his opening match, before rallying from a first-set blowout to beat Alexandr Dolgopolov in the quarterfinals, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.

3. Dimitrov has now reached the semifinals of Brisbane in four of six tries. He reached the final in 2012 (losing to Andy Murray), the semifinals in 2015 (losing to Roger Federer) and won the title in 2017.

Kyrgios is playing the main draw here for the first time—he fell in qualifying once back in 2012.

4. Beating Top 3 players is nothing new for Kyrgios. The Australian has one win over a world No. 1 (Rafael Nadal, at Wimbledon in 2014) and four wins over World No. 2s (Federer, at Madrid in 2015; Novak Djokovic, at Acapulco and Indian Wells in 2017; and Nadal, at Cincinnati in 2017).

The No.21-ranked Kyrgios is trying to beat a world No. 3 for the first time in his career.

5. Dimitrov is on a seven-match winning streak. He won his last five matches of 2017 to capture the biggest title of his career at the ATP Finals, and now he’s extended that streak to seven. Bigger picture, he’s won 22 of his last 27 matches, starting with his title run in Cincinnati last August.

6. Kyrgios is playing with house money in Brisbane—and for a while thereafter. He only played one ATP World Tour-level event in the first seven weeks of the 2017 season, reaching the second round of the Australian Open. He’s already doubled those ranking points by reaching the semifinals in Brisbane.

7. Dimitrov is trying to reach his 15th ATP World Tour final. The Bulgarian is 8-6 in his first 14. Meanwhile, Kyrgios is trying to reach his seventh career final—he’s 3-3 in his first six.

8. Dimitrov has won both previous meetings, but it hasn’t been easy. Especially their first meeting, in the second round of Indian Wells in 2015. Kyrgios served for the match at 5-4 in the third set before Dimitrov came back to win, 7-6 (2), 3-6, 7-6 (4). Their only other meeting came in the final of the Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati last summer, where the Bulgarian won in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5.

9. The winner could face an American for the title. In the other semifinal, No.47-ranked American Ryan Harrison takes on Australian teenager Alex de Minaur, a No. 208-ranked wildcard this week.

10. You can watch both Brisbane semifinals live on Tennis Channel (click here for the listings!)

Read more articles by John Berkok

Share This Story