Gregor Dimitrov, who won in Brisbane at the start of the year, will get the chance to show he has turned the corner on Friday when he faces rafael Nadal in the Australian Open semi-finals. Victory would put him in his first grand slam final. Roger Federer is already in the final. Catch live score and updates of Rafael Nadal vs Gregor Dimitrov here. (Where to see live streaming)
Gregor Dimitrov seemed to be on the right track when he beat Andy Murray at Wimbledon in 2014 to reach the semi-finals and broke into the top 10 for the first time. (Read: Sania Mirza-Ivan Dodig in mixed doubles final)
Two-time #AusOpen champ and @Channel7 commentator Jim #Courier hangs out and previews the Nadal-Dimitrov SF in the Twitter Blue Room pic.twitter.com/SiYek3P5oj— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 27, 2017
His relationship with former women’s world number one Maria Sharapova seemed to be working wonders for him on the court but when the pair split in the middle of 2015, after two years together, Dimitrov lost his way.
In July last year, the 25-year-old Dimitrov dropped to 40th in the rankings but his decision to hire Dani Vallverdu, Murray’s former coach, sparked a resurgence.
.@RafaelNadal having a hit on the practice court prior to his SF match against Grigor #Dimitrov #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/35yNay80Ss— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 27, 2017
But Dimitrov is up against a champion whose passion and resilience has been one of the high points in this year’s Australian Open.
After being bundled out in the first round by compatriot Fernando Verdasco last year, Rafael Nadal has reached his fifth semi-final at Melbourne Park in a remarkable turnaround for the 14-times grand slam winner.
A barren 2016 saw Rafael Nadal fail to reach at least one grand slam final for the first time since 2004 and while he won Olympic doubles gold at the Rio Games a troubling wrist injury forced him to call time on his season in early October.
Questions were being raised as to whether he still had the physicality and game to match the likes of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Warwinka and the evergreen Roger Federer, as well as the new generation coming through.
The last three rounds at Melbourne Park have answered those questions decisively as Nadal beat 24th seed Alexander Zverev in five sets, sixth seed Gael Monfils in four, then outclassed third seed Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals.