This was not a perfect performance by Roger Federer, but third place is already one place to do enough to reach the semifinals of the US Open for the 11th time. Federer led Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in one hour and 44 minutes.
The 38-year-old Swiss wasted little time and gained an advantage at Arthur Ash Stadium, defeating the Bulgarians on his first return game on the way to 3-0. And the 102-time touring title holder, who qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals for the 17th time with his first win in New York (Nagal), won the rally in the first set, which was four shots or less by a margin of 23-15.
But Dimitrov did not allow Federer to gain another lead. Instead, the fourth US Open finalist trailed by 4-2, using his variety and changing the rhythm enough to throw Federer out of his game. And although he failed to service the set at 5-3, returning the break to a double-fault service on the net, Dimitrov remained unchanged.
On 30/30, in the next game, the former World No. 3 blew up. a breakthrough slightly towards Federer's backhand and the Swiss failed to maneuver to the ball with a forehand volley. At his first point, Dimitrov leveled the match when the Swiss mishandled a cross court forehand quite wide.
Federer had what seemed to be a golden opportunity to confidently regain momentum at 2-2 0/40 in the third set. But a series of mistakes allowed Dimitrov to get out of trouble. The Swiss won another chance to break through at 3-3, but this time the Bulgarian double apologized.
Dimitrov did not drop his head, earning two chances to return to service in the next game. But the 298 Tournament winner wildly missed a good look at a forehand pass and then failed to return a big favor from Federer, who continued to break through to close the set.
Federer is the oldest Grand Slam quarterfinalist since Jimmy Connors, 39, to make the semifinals of the 1991 U.S. Open. And if he continues to lift the trophy, this will be his 21st major title.
on the other hand, World No. 78 Dimitrov is trying to move on to what was a reopening tournament. Dimitrov arrived at Flushing Meadows, losing seven of his previous eight games, but if he can defeat Federer, the 28-year-old will reach his third Gram and a semi-final by Slam.
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The winner will stand in the form of the Russian Daniel Medvedev, the fifth descendant. Medvedev, who won his first ATP Masters 1000 title last month at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, beat Stan Vavrinka in four sets.
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Federer only missed nine games in his previous two games before facing Dimitrov. His 80-minute win over Daniel Evans in the third round and a 79-minute win against David Goffin in the 16th round remain the two shortest finishes of this men's single.