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Grigor Dimitrov reaches semis in home country of Bulgaria

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The Sports Xchange
Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

Third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov delighted the home fans with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Viktor Troicki on Friday as he reached the semifinals of the Koza Sofia Open in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The 25-year-old Bulgarian is set to play in front of a sellout 12,000-strong crowd this weekend when he faces Nikoloz Basilashvili.

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"I was feeling the ball a little bit better, serving well and returning great, so all of those things helped me out there against Viktor," Dimitrov said after Friday's win over the ninth seed from Serbia. "It's the first time for me to be in the semifinals here, so it's hard not to be excited. It's been a long time since I've played in front of a home crowd and they've been crazy all week, so I'm just trying to take it in and enjoy every moment."

Dimitrov is playing at an ATP Tour event in Bulgaria for the first time and has returned home to a hero's welcome after reaching the Australian Open semifinals, where he lost to Rafael Nadal in a five-set battle.

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The unseeded Basilashvili, from the country of Georgia, overcame a slow start to defeat No. 8 Martin Klizan of Slovakia 0-6, 6-3, 6-3. This is Basilashvili's second time in an ATP semifinal.

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Second seed David Goffin surged into the semifinals with a 6-1, 6-3 victory in an all-Belgian match with Steve Darcis, his nation's Davis Cup hero last weekend.

Goffin, a quarterfinalist at the Australian Open last month, credited his aggressive tactics for Friday's win.

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"I started the match really well," Goffin said. "In the second set it was a close match. I had five break points to save and I also had some opportunities that I didn't take. When you win the first set 6-1, you always expect a reaction from your opponent. I managed it very well. I served and volleyed when I had to win the point and it helped me a lot to win the second set. I'm pleased to be in the semifinals."

Goffin will face defending champion and fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, who improved to a 5-0 record at this tournament with a 7-5, 7-6 (5) victory over No. 5 Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.

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