Grigor Dimitrov produced one of the comebacks of the season on Wednesday at the BNP Paribas Open as he rallied from a set and double break down to shock top seed Daniil Medvedev in Indian Wells.
The 23rd seed rolled back the years as he battled back from 4-6, 1-4 behind, moving past the Russian 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals in Indian Wells for the first time.
After appearing in total control, Medvedev lost his way, making just 34 per cent of his first serves in the second set as Dimitrov started to force the World No. 2 into errors with his aggressive game. The Bulgarian won eight straight games, before advancing after two hours and 16 minutes.
It is the first time Dimitrov has defeated a Top 2 opponent since 2016, when he overcame Andy Murray in Miami. The World No. 28 has now reduced his ATP Head2Head deficit with Medvedev to 2-3. Dimitrov will next face eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz after the Pole defeated Russia’s Aslan Karatsev 6-1, 6-3.
With his victory, the eight-time tour-level champion is into the quarter-finals at an ATP Masters 1000 event for the first time this season. Dimitrov did enjoy a run to the quarter-finals at the Australian Open in January, though, where he also beat a Top 5 player in the shape of then World No. 3 Dominic Thiem.
In a lively start, Medvedev showcased his current confidence in the first game, breaking Dimitrov immediately to take control. The Russian won 80 per cent (16/20) of his first-serve points in the opening set as he hit with great length, committing just five unforced errors as he moved ahead.
Medvedev then raced into a 4-1 lead in the second set, with Dimitrov unable to hit through the World No. 2. However, from a double break down, Dimitrov began to find his best tennis. The Bulgarian rolled off five straight games to level as he played aggressively, while Medvedev lost focus from the baseline and on serve.
Fuelled by momentum, Dimitrov did not let up as he continued to frustrate Medvedev in the decider. He continued to approach the net effectively and sealed his victory when Medvedev hit a forehand long.
Medvedev had won 18 of his past 19 matches on North American soil, capturing his fourth Masters 1000 title in Toronto and his first major at the US Open in this time. The World No. 2 was aiming to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.