California: Daniil Medvedev was knocked out in the fourth round of Indian Wells by Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov as the world number two’s near-flawless start turned nightmarish in a 4-6 6-4 6-3 defeat as British number two Cameron Norrie beat American Tommy Paul in three sets to reach the quarter-finals.
Medvedev broke Dimitrovs serve to open the match, easing through a near-perfect first set in which he won all but four of his first-serve points and fired off three aces with just five unforced errors.
The Russian, who won his maiden major title at the U.S. Open last month, was up two breaks in the second set and seemingly on track for an easy victory.
But Dimitrov came roaring back, winning five games in a row to wrest control of the momentum as Medvedev unravelled, converting on break point to close out the second set, before winning another three games in a row to open the third.
Down 15-40 and 4-1, Medvedev’s frustrations boiled over as he missed a first serve and angrily flung his racquet to the ground. He then double faulted, handing Dimitrov the break.
Medvedev broke back and then held serve, but it was too late, as the world number 28 completed the stunning comeback in the following game, before thrusting his arms aloft in triumph.
Medvedev, who picked up his fourth Masters 1000 title earlier this year in Toronto, told reporters he struggled to control the ball, particularly on the first serve. “I don’t remember myself losing three service games, even four service games ever, I guess, on hard courts,” he said.
“That shows how slow this court is and the conditions, more like clay, I would say, which I don’t like, because to lose four times the serve is just unacceptable.” Dimitrov has now recorded two wins against Medvedev and next faces eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-final round.
World number 26 Norrie won 6-4 4-6 6-2 to claim his 44th win on the ATP Tour this year. The 26-year-old left-hander has never previously reached this stage of a Masters 1000 tournament. Norrie will face Diego Schwartzman in the last eight after the Argentine beat Norway’s Casper Rudd in straight sets.