ATP Rogers Cup: Kevin Anderson finally breaks through in Canada

At the fourth time of asking, Kevin Anderson advanced to the semifinals of the Rogers Cup, reaching new ground in convincing fashion with a blowout win over Grigor Dimitrov.

ATP Rogers Cup: Kevin Anderson finally breaks through in Canada
Kevin Anderson celebrates finally breaking new ground at the Rogers Cup. Photo: Getty Images
Kevin Anderson
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Grigor Dimitrov

After back-to-back quarterfinal losses at the Rogers Cup, fourth seed Kevin Anderson finally broke through to reach the semis in Canada following a surgical dismantling of Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals. The Wimbledon runner-up picked the fifth seed apart, dominating the rallies and crushing his returns, breaking four times without facing a single break point on his way to a 6-2, 6-2 victory.

Dimitrov breaks down early

It was the giant South African setting the tone for the match right from the opening ball, taking a love-30 lead on Dimitrov’s serve in the very first game. The Bulgarian would win four straight points to hold, but it did nothing to discourage Anderson. At 2-all, the fourth seed crushed a forehand winner to go up love-40. After missing the first two break points, he smacked a forehand return up the line for a winner and a break.

Grigor Dimitrov serves during his loss on Friday. Photo: Getty Images
Grigor Dimitrov serves during his loss on Friday. Photo: Getty Images

Dimitrov was struggling to get any kind of foothold in the match as Anderson was pushing him around the court on seemingly every point. Even when the Bulgarian was in the lead it made no difference. Serving down 4-2, he failed to close out a game he led 40-15, letting Anderson back to deuce. The South African’s return once again came up big as he crushed a massive forehand return crosscourt to set up break point, where Dimitrov double-faulted to go down 5-2. Anderson would serve out the set in the following game.

Anderson races to landmark win

The Wimbledon runner-up picked up where he left off to start the second set, taking a love-40 lead on his opponent’s serve in the very first game. Anderson would once again strike a huge return in a big moment, drawing an error with a deep return to open the second set with a love hold. He would then consolidate with a hold to claim his seventh game in a row. Dimitrov would finally hold for 2-1 to get on the board.

At 3-2, the South African faced some pressure on his serve for the first time all day, being pushed to deuce, although he quickly won the next two points to erase the threat. That miss proved costly for Dimitrov, as he would find himself down break point again in the next game. After saving one at 30-40 with a beautiful swinging volley, he netted a backhand at deuce and Anderson painted the line with a forehand to take a 5-2 lead.

Kevin Anderson crushes one of his giant backhands during the quarterfinal win. Photo: Getty Images
Kevin Anderson crushes one of his giant backhands during the quarterfinal win. Photo: Getty Images

Serving for the match, the South African went up 40-love and converted his second match point to reach the second Masters 1000 semifinal of his career, and second of the year, after falling in the quarters in Canada three times in the last four years.

By the numbers

Anderson was dominant on serve, striking 12 aces and winning 81 percent of his first serve points. Not generally known as a returner, the South African looked like a master during Dimitrov’s service games in this match, winning an impressive 43 percent of the Bulgarian’s first serve points and 52 percent of his second serves. Anderson did not face a break point in the match, while converting four of his seven openings.

Anderson will meet young gun Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinals.