World No. 29 Grigor Dimitrov absolutely expects a tough battle when he faces No. 2 seed Casper Ruud in the San Diego Open semifinal.
Dimitrov, a former world No. 3, overcame Australian Open semifinalist Aslan Karatsev 6-1 1-6 6-2 to reach the San Diego semifinal.
Dimitrov, who is chasing his first title since 2017, is set for his first-ever meeting with Ruud.
Ruud is having a huge year, having won four titles and having made two Masters semifinals.
“Casper is a great player who has been having a great year,” Dimitrov said, per the ATP website. “He’ll be a very tough opponent but I’ll just be focusing on my side of the net. I’ll do everything possible to stop him.”
Dimitrov outgunned Karatsev
The two players were tied at one game apiece after the opening two games before DImitrov claimed back-to-back breaks to win five games in a row and seal the opener.
After easily losing the opener, Karatsev responded by breaking Dimitrov twice in the second set to force a decider.
Dimitrov blew an early third-set break but he then broke Karatsev two more times to complete a three-set win.
On the other side, Ruud beat Lorenzo Sonego 6-1 6-4.
“This is my first semi-final on hard court after reaching the quarters in Toronto and Cincinnati, so it’s another important step in my young career,” Ruud said. “It gives me confidence for tomorrow and the belief that I can beat good players on this surface.”
Afterward, Ruud insisted it wasn’t easy against Sonego.
“It was closer than it may have seemed, but the key moments and important points went my way today,” said Ruud, who is looking to add a tour-high fifth title of the season. “The three times I broke him they were close games and at 4-3 in the second I got into a little bit of trouble on my serve but I was able to serve out a close game.”