Mexico City - Fourth-seeded Austrian
Dominic Thiem won a battle of rising ATP stars on Thursday, downing Grigor
Dimitrov 7-5, 6-2 to reach the semi-finals of the Mexico Open.
Thiem, 22 and ranked a career-high 15th in
the world after lifting the trophy in Buenos Aires a fortnight ago and reaching
the semi-finals at Rio de Janeiro last week, broke Bulgaria's Dimitrov in the
opening game of the second set, and broke again for a 5-2 lead before serving
out the win in one hour and 38 minutes.
"Breaking him in the first game of the
second set was maybe the deciding moment of this match," Thiem said.
"I started to play better and better
and the momentum swung to my side," he said.
Thiem will play American Sam Querrey for a
place in the final. Querrey defeated 18-year-old compatriot Taylor Fritz 2-6,
Friday's other semi-final will pit
fifth-seeded Australian Bernard Tomic against Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Tomic, playing his fourth quarter-final of
the year, edged Ukraine's Illya Marchenko 7-5, 7-5 while Dolgopolov cruised
past Robin Haase of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-3.
Tomic, ranked 21st in the world, broke
Marchenko five times.
Dolgopolov, coming off an upset of top seed
and defending champion David Ferrer of Spain, needed just 64 minutes to subdue
Haase and said he'd try to maintain his aggressive mindset against Tomic.
"We've played a lot of times,"
said Dolgopolov, who has won six of nine career meetings with Tomic. "He's
a tricky player. He slices well, he plays all around the court, serves well and
breaks up your rhythm. I think it will be on my racquet because I risk a bit
more than him in general."
In women's action, second seeded American
Sloane Stephens defeated Japanese wild card Naomi Osaka 6-3, 7-5 to set up a
semi-final clash with eighth-seeded Belgian Yanina Wickmayer, who upset
third-seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 7-6 (7/3).
Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova - who reached
the quarters on a walkover when top-seeded Victoria Azarenka pulled out with a
left wrist injury - advanced to the semis with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over
sixth-seeded Swede Johanna Larsson.
Cibulkova next faces American Christina
McHale, who defeated Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-4, 6-7 (7/9), 6-2.