Grigor Dimitrov won his first career match over Rafael Nadal seven tries and he did it in dominating fashion, beating the Spaniard 6-2, 6-4 to reach the Beijing semifinals.
“I feel that I played a bad match in a lot of aspects. Is obvious that Grigor played much better than me, so he deserved to win,” Nadal said. “I cannot have two breaks and lose 6-2 the first set. When this happens, something is going very bad, no? If you have two breaks, you should have a big possibility to win the set. Having two breaks, I lost 6-2.
“Start in the second set again with a break, and it was a disaster. Losing five serves in a row is something that you cannot win a match like this. That’s it. I fighted until the last ball, but going all the time against the score and all the time against the bad feelings, psychologically bad feelings, because I was losing and suffering later with my serve all the time.”
Nadal, who had won the Beijing title in 2005, never held serve in the first set. And there were five straight breaks to start the match.
“I’m pretty happy with that win,” Dimitrov said. “I’m not going to lie. I’ve played Rafa quite a few times. So many times I think I was close or like I remember a couple times I was cramping. There was just always something happening.
“Today I just think I played an excellent match. Simple as that. I mean, honestly, there’s not much else to say except for sure I’m proud. A lot of the work is paying off.”
Dimitrov was 0-6 against Nadal until today.
“I’m not playing a mediocre player here. I’m playing a man that I really respect, always look up to,” Dimitrov added. “I use him even sometimes as an inspiration when I’m down in a match or something. He’s one of the biggest fighters for me by far. Honestly, there’s nothing else you can say about Rafa. He has proven himself so many times.”
Dimitrov will meet Milos Raonic in the semifinals. The Canadain won two matches on the day beating Malek Jaziri and then Pablo Carreno Busta, both in straight sets.
Meanwhile, Andy Murray cruised into the semifinals beating countryman and qualifier Kyle Edmund 7-6, 6-2. Murray didn’t drop a point on first serve in the first set.
“I think the conditions kind of allowed it a bit more than maybe when I played my last match. When you’re playing outdoors in the evening, it’s extremely cold. Normally playing indoors, a little bit easier to serve, can be a little bit quicker,” Murray said.
“Both of us got quite a lot of free points on the serve in the first set. Yeah, I served well. It was the best I served in the three matches that I played here so far. Yeah, got a lot of success with that. Yeah, I didn’t lose a point behind my first serve in the first set, so that was very positive.”
Murray will now meet David Ferrer on Saturday. The Spaniard needed three sets to beat Alexander Zverev 6-7, 6-1, 7-5. The 19-year-old Zverev had a break lead twice in the final set but was unable to hold the lead.
Murray has won 13 of 20 meetings with Ferrer including the last six.
“It will be hard, for sure. Every match against him, he certainly makes you earn it,” Murray said of facing Ferrer. “There’s not many short points. He’s a great returner, moves extremely well. He makes every match tough.
“You always have to play very well to win against him. If you don’t, there’s a good chance you lose the match. I’ll have to play very well tomorrow against him and I expect it to be very hard.”
SATURDAY BEIJING SCHEDULE
NATIONAL TENNIS STADIUM start 12:30 pm
WTA –  C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) vs  H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE)
Not Before 2:30 pm
WTA –  J. Konta (GBR) vs  M. Keys (USA)
Not Before 4:30 pm
ATP –  A. Murray (GBR) vs  D. Ferrer (ESP)
Not Before 7:30 pm
WTA –  E. Svitolina (UKR) vs  A. Radwanska (POL) or Y. Shvedova (KAZ)
Not Before 9:00 pm
ATP –  M. Raonic (CAN) vs G. Dimitrov (BUL)
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