Grigor Dimitrov. (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty Images)
Defending US Open Champion Daniel Medvedev is out of the ATP Indian Wells Masters, falling stunningly in the fourth round to the No. 23 seed Grigor Dimitrov 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Wednesday.
Medvedev, who won his first Grand Slam title last month at Flushing Meadows, had not lost a set until the fourth round but lost eight straight games to Dimitrov en route to a superb early exit for the seed.
World No.2 Medvedev didn’t take a break from his emotional US Open victory and said his busy schedule may have finally caught up with him.
“I felt exhausted in this tournament. Now I can say it. I couldn’t say it before my matches. There are some physical issues that have occurred,” said Medvedev, who hopes to eventually overtake Novak Djokovic for the number. one in the world.
Medvedev won the first set, led 4-1 in the second and looked to be heading for another easy win when the wheels came off – his unforced errors in mounting and his service play falling flat.
Medvedev had no answer on how Dimitrov was playing and predicted that the Bulgarian would likely go on to win the title.
“If he plays like that, like he played me 4-1, then he’s going to win the tournament,” Medvedev said. “He played the second half of the game better than anyone against me at the US Open. It’s not like I gave him the game.”
The game turned into game six of the second set as Dimitrov broke Medvedev’s serve for the second time in the set to reduce the Russian’s lead to 4-2.
Dimitrov held the serve in the next game, then beat Medvedev two more times to win the set and set the tone for a dominant performance in the third.
The Bulgarian ended the game on match point when Medvedev landed a long forehand.
“I watched a lot of his games,” Dimitrov said of Medvedev. “I really wanted to play this game to be completely honest. What he’s been able to accomplish over the past year and a half is pretty amazing. I think it also pushes me to do better.”
Dimitrov will face Polish eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz, who beat Russian Aslan Karatsev 6-1, 6-3 earlier on Wednesday in the quarter-finals.
Medvedev, 25, beat Djokovic in the US Open final last month to prevent the Serbian star from becoming the first man since legendary Rod Laver in the 1960s to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in the same year .
Medvedev managed to break Dimitrov in the opener of the first two sets but it was small consolation for the loss.
Medvedev committed six double faults and his serve was broken six times during the two-hour and 15-minute match at the main stadium.
Medvedev, who won 50 games in 2021, described it as a minor setback as this event is not a Grand Slam.
“I don’t see it as the end of the world. I don’t think that would happen in a Grand Slam. There are a few little things I could have done better,” he said.
This is only the second time Dimitrov has beaten Medvedev in five career meetings. The last time was a three-set victory when they first met in 2017 in London.
In the other men’s matches on Wednesday, Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman beat Norway’s Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarters.
In the women’s draw, two-time winner Victoria Azarenka landed her ticket to the semi-finals with a straight-set victory, 6-4, 6-2, over Jessica Pegula.
Azarenka, who is the only remaining female and male player to win at Indian Wells, won the title in 2012 and 2016.
The 32-year-old Belarusian took just 94 minutes to end American Pegula’s race and reach the bottom four in that event for the fourth time in her career.
“I played really well in the crucial moments,” said Azarenka. “I felt like I lived up to the occasion a lot. That’s what I’m really happy with today.”
Indian Wells ATP and WTA tournament results Wednesday (x indicates standings):
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x23) with Daniil Medvedev (RUS x1) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
Hubert Hurkacz (POL x8) vs. Aslan Karatsev (RUS x19) 6-1, 6-3
Cameron Norrie (GBR x21) vs. Tommy Paul (United States) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
Diego Schwartzman (ARG x11) with Casper Ruud (NOR x6) 6-3, 6-3
Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO x29) with Karen Khachanov (RUS x24) 6-4, 7-6 (8/6)
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x2) with Alex De Minaur (AUS x22) 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/3), 6-2
Taylor Fritz (USA x31) with Jannik Sinner (ITA x10) 6-4, 6-3
Alexander Zverev (GER x3) against Gaël Monfils (FRA x14) 6-1, 6-3
Victoria Azarenka (BLR / N.27) vs. Jessica Pegula (USA / N.19) 6-4, 6-2
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x24) bt Shelby Rogers (USA) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3