For the first time in 11 years (Hamburg 2006), there are no Top 10 players in Masters 1000 semi-final and also no one from the Big 4, making a perfect chance for the remaining participants to grab a huge title. Grigor Dimitrov will be the first finalist after a 7-6 7-6 victory over John Isner, in 2 hours and 3 minutes, and this will be the first Masters 1000 final for the 26-year-old Bulgarian. 2 years ago in Miami Isner won in straight sets but this time Dimitrov was more focused in the crucial points, saving 2 break points in the opening set and taking both tie breaks (he saved 3 set points in the second) to prevail and advance to the title match after a high-quality second set tie break, which he won 12-10.
It was a very tight encounter, with short points mostly decided by serve and forehands on both sides. Grigor finished the match with 27 winners and 22 unforced errors, while Isner stood on 27-37. Also, Bulgarian had the edge in the longer points and that gave him the win in the end, althout it has to be said that the second set could go either way.
Deuces were seen in only 5 games and Isner probably missed a chance to make bigger pressure on the return until the first game of the second set (3 deuces in that game alone), and after that, he couldn't do much on Grigor's serve until the tie break.
John had an amazing summer on home soil, playing 3 tournaments (Newport, Atlanta, and Cincinnati) and holding in 146 out of 149 games, and also in all 5 matches this week, but even that wasn't enough to earn him another place in the final.
He had a big opportunity to win the first set, with 2 break points in game 6 but Dimitrov fends off both with good forehand attacks to keep his serve intact. Isner reached a deuce on the return in game 8 as well but he couldn't create more break points before the tie break.
There, Grigor made a crucial move in the 5th point, ripping a backhand down the line winner for a mini-break and a 3-2 lead, and he closed the breaker by 7-4 after a good forehand attack. As we already said, Grigor made an important hold in the first game of the second set after 3 deuces and he served well until the end of the set, keeping the pressure on Isner.
There was only 1 break point in the entire set, John saved it in game 10 with a huge serve to prolong the match, and they set up another tie break, much more competitive than the first one. Dimitrov saved 3 set points, all on his serve, and he wrapped up the win after converting his 4th match point at 11-10 when John netted a forehand.