Seven Years Later, Chardy Downs Dimitrov Again
Flash back to 2011: Grigor Dimitrov, a hotly rated 19-year-old prospect finally making progress at the tour level after claiming his fourth ATP Challenger Tour title, is playing his third Grand Slam main draw at Roland Garros. Jeremy Chardy, at 24 years old, is making his own tour-level inroads but comprehensively outplays the Bulgarian, winning in three easy sets.
Fast forward to 2018: Top 5 in the world, ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titlist and Nitto ATP Finals champion, Dimitrov came into his Miami Open presented by Itau matchup with Chardy having won the three meetings following their Roland Garros encounter. However, the unseeded Frenchman would ultimately play well above his ranking, claiming victory over his esteemed opponent 6-4, 6-4 in one hour, 24 minutes.
The match was closely contested in the first set, with both players holding their serves with relative ease. Chardy, using his topspin-laden forehand, would pound away at the Dimitrov backhand, bending it until it finally broke to give him the set. The second set was much of the same, with Chardy surging ahead with similar tactics and breaking at the same moment to earn his first win over his opponent since 2011.
After a slow start to the season, the 31-year-old’s win over the No. 3 seed marks his eighth of the year. He matched his five double faults with five aces and only faced – and saved – one break point throughout the match.
He advances to face Canadian Milos Raonic, who did not drop serve in a 7-6(5), 6-3 win over Argentine Diego Schwartzman. Raonic won 20 of 28 points at net and hit 26 winners (including 10 aces) to Schwartzman's 12. The former Wimbledon finalist continued his run of form that took him to the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.