Melbourne: Bulgarian GrigorDimitrov reached his first Australian Open semi-final with a straight-sets win over Belgian David Goffin on Wednesday.
The 15th-seeded Dimitrov won 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in two hours, 13 minutes on Rod Laver Arena and will face either third seed Milos Raonic or 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal in Friday’s semi-final.
It was Dimitrov’s second career Grand Slam semi-final after his last-four appearance at Wimbledon three years ago.
The win also equalledDimitrov’s career-best winning streak of 10 matches after his lead-up tournament win in the Brisbane International, where he beat Kei Nishikori in the final.
The last time the Bulgarian won 10 straight matches was back in 2014, when he took the title at Queen’s and reached the last four at Wimbledon.
“I knew it was not going to be easy. The first set was nerve-racking, absolutely,” he said. “I felt I could play well but I was not striking the ball as well as I could.
“I think I was a bit passive but with each game and with each point I was feeling a bit better and I was finding my groove. So I’m happy right now.”
With his victory Dimitrov is projected to rise to 12 in next week’s rankings unless Roger Federer wins the title in Melbourne. If Dimitrov goes on to win his first Grand Slam title, he will rise to career-high ranking of six.
Dimitrov put the Belgian under immediate pressure, breaking his opening service, but Goffin broke back in the fifth game.
The Bulgarian edged back in front after breaking again on his fourth break point following a 22-shot rally.
Dimitrov fought off a break point as he served out for the set with another 22-shot rally, before Goffin’s forehand was wide to hand him the opening set in 42 minutes.
Both serves came under pressure in the second set but Dimitrov was making more use of his opportunities and broke three times and dropped one service game to take a two-sets lead.
Dimitrov grabbed the decisive service break in the seventh game of the final set when Goffin’s backhand was long on break point.
It was the Bulgarian’s sixth service break from 15 break point opportunities, while the Belgian could only convert two of his 10 chances.
Dimitrov served out for the match and won on his third match point with a ripping backhand winner.
Goffin was bidding to become the first Belgian man to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since Xavier Malisse at Wimbledon in 2002. (AFP)