The quarterfinals were contested on Friday at the Brisbane International, setting up a dream clash between the two tournament favourites in the final four. Two seeds and two surprises were victorious in the quarterfinals, setting up what should be a fascinating semifinal Saturday. Here’s what happened on day six in Brisbane.
Defending champion Grigor Dimitrov was lucky to survive his opening match, saving two match points in his second-round win. The Bulgarian got off to a quicker start in his quarterfinal match with Kyle Edmund, although he still needed three sets to advance to the semifinals. Dimitrov struggled with consistency in the second round but managed to hold his serve through the opening set before grabbing a late break to take it 6-4.
Neither man gave an inch on serve in the second set, with Edmund riding that perfect serve through a tiebreak to send the match to a decider. While Edmund had been serving well, Dimitrov was even better. After saving break points in the seventh game of the first set, the Bulgarian would not face another for the rest of the match. With his back against the wall serving at 4-5, Edmund finally blinked and Dimitrov was able to wrap up the 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-4 victory with a break. Dimitrov did a great job of defending his serve, saving the only two break points he faced despite hitting nine double faults and only winning 47 percent of his second serve points.
Home favourite Nick Kyrgios set up a blockbuster semifinal with Dimitrov by battling back to defeat Alexandr Dolgopolov in a three-set quarterfinal battle. It was the underdog Dolgopolov who came flying out of the gate, breaking Kyrgios in the third seed’s first service game on his way a to 3-0 lead. He added a second break, needing only 23 minutes to take the opening set 6-1.
Kyrgios returned the favour in the second set, racing out to a 3-0 lead of his own before claiming the second set. The Aussie had settled into his rhythm and his offensive onslaught became too much for Dolgopolov to handle. He broke at 3-3 in the final set and nearly broke again for the match in the ninth game before serving his way into the semifinal with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory. Kyrgios pounded 18 aces and won 38 of 43 first serve points (88 percent), although he only won 42 percent of his second serve points. Both men broke serve twice in the match.
The possibility of an all-Australian final exists in Brisbane, as Kyrgios is joined in the semifinals by Alex De Minaur. The Sydney native won a battle of teens with American Michael Mmoh, both of whom were contesting their first ever ATP World Tour quarterfinal, 6-4, 6-0. The match was tight through the first eight games, with De Minaur needing to save three break points to stay on serve at 2-3.
But once the world number 208 Aussie broke for a 5-4 lead, number 175 Mmoh could no longer keep up. The match became one-way traffic, with De Minaur winning ten games in a row to book a spot in his first tour-level semifinal. Despite only putting 50 percent of his first serves in play, De Minaur won more than 70 percent of both his first and second serves, saving all three break points he faced. Mmoh only won 36 percent of his second serve points and was broken four times on seven break points.
For a place in the final, De Minaur will meet American Ryan Harrison, who advanced to the semis when Denis Istomin retired late in the second set of their quarterfinal meeting. The match was close through the early stages, as neither player broke serve before Harrison narrowly took the tiebreak 8-6 to claim the opening set. Istomin played well into the second set, breaking back immediately after Harrison broke in the opening game of the second set. But after Harrison broke again in the fifth game and held for a 4-2 lead, Istomin was pulled out with an injury.
The semifinals will take place on Saturday, with Dimitrov taking a 2-0 head-to-head advantage into his clash with Kyrgios, a match that many will consider to be the de facto final. In the other semi, De Minaur will look to reach his first ATP World Tour final against Harrison.