By Clive Leviev-Sawyer of the Sofia Globe
Grigor Dimitrov recovered after dropping the first set against David Goffin of Belgium to advance to the fourth round of US Open late on August 31, setting up a clash against Frenchman Gael Monfils.
The match had to be rescheduled from the Arthur Ashe stadium and seventh-seed Dimitrov look very unsettled in the first set, losing 0-6 to Goffin, who came into the tournament fresh from a 25-win streak, snapped by his semi-final loss to Jerzy Janowicz in Winston-Salem.
The Belgian looked undaunted by the big occasion and deserved his lead, but Dimitrov recovered in the second frame, converting his sole break point and saving three on his own service to take the set 6-3.
As the match progressed, Dimitrov settled in and steadily improved on service, increasingly winning points on his first serve.
In the third set, the Bulgarian raced to a 4-0 lead but was pegged back to 4-4 because of a slew of unforced errors. He then broke back and served out to win the set. In the fourth frame, Dimitrov again took a 4-0 lead but this time gave Goffin no chance to sneak back into the match, finishing it off with a final scoreline of 0-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 in just over an hour and 20 minutes of play.
Dimitrov will next face 20th-seed Monfils, who defeated fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet in straight sets 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Dimitrov and Monfils have split their previous two meetings, with the Bulgarian winning their last one in the Bucharest semi-finals earlier this year, when Monfils retired 1-5 down in the first set.
Three other players from the Balkans played their matches on August 31, with Croatia’s 14th-seed Marin Cilic the only winner, against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in the third round, in four sets 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. He will next play Gilles Simon of France, who upset fourth-seed David Ferrer in four sets.
On the women’s side, Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who defeated Romania’s second-seed Simona Halep in the third round, lost her fourth-round match against Sara Errani of Italy 3-6, 6-2, 0-6. Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic, seeded ninth, lost to Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic in straight sets 6-7, 3-6.
The only Balkan player left in the women’s draw is Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic, who upset third-seed Petra Kvitova, the Wimbledon champion, in the third round and will next play against Belarus’ Viktoria Azarenka in the fourth round on September 1.
On the men’s side, in addition to Dimitrov and Cilic, who will play their fourth-round matches on September 2, the other Balkan player left in the competition is top seed Novak Djokovic, who will play against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber, seeded 22nd, on September 1.