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Bublik beats Dimitrov to reach Chengdu semifinals


Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan hits a return against Lloyd Harris of South Africa during their men’s singles semi-final match at the Chengdu Open tennis tournament in Chengdu in China’s southwestern Sichuan province on September 28, 2019. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

CHENGDU, China -- Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan saved two match points and hit 35 aces to upset fourth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov 5-7, 7-6 (9), 7-6 (3) Friday and reach the semifinals of the Chengdu Open.

Bublik reached just his second ATP tour semifinal and denied Dimitrov his 300th match win in the process. He faced two match points in the second-set tiebreaker before converting his third set point and then raced out to a 3-0 lead in the decider. He failed to convert a match point at 5-4 but then took a 5-0 lead in the deciding tiebreaker.

“It’s been a good week for me, and beating Grigor is a great achievement for me,” Bublik said. “The second set tiebreaker was tough, I never thought about being match points down, but just playing my own game and serving well.”

The 22-year-old Kazakh will next face South African lucky loser Lloyd Harris, who ousted Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 to reach his first tour-level semifinal.

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov reached his third semifinal of the year with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over Egor Gerasimov of Belarus. He will take on Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, who ousted Christian Garin of Chile 7-5, 6-2 in 83 minutes.

At the Zhuhai Championships, Albert Ramos Vinolas upset third-seeded Gael Monfils of France 7-5, 6-4 to reach the last four. He will face Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who knocked out qualifier Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina 6-1, 6-4 in just 78 minutes.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 seed Roberto Bautista Agut advanced to the semifinals with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Andreas Seppi, improving his record to 4-0 against the Italian.

Up next is 20-year-old Alex de Minaur of Australia, who followed up his win over Andy Murray by beating fourth-seeded Borna Coric 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.