More than 10 years since his maiden campaign at the Rolex Shanghai Masters, Grigor Dimitrov has progressed to the final eight for the first time in his career.
The popular Bulgarian defeated Nicolas Jarry 7-6(2) 6-4 to achieve the new milestone, which is the ninth ATP Masters 1000 semifinal of his career.
It turned the tables on the powerful Jarry, who was a winner over Dimitrov in their two previous matches. In a breathtakingly clean performance over one hour and 40 minutes, the No.18 seed committed only three unforced errors and didn't face a single break point.
"I would say that's what I think a decent match should look like, especially when you get to that type of level and that type of stages in a tournament," said Dimitrov, who was especially pleased to manage Jarry's hard-to-read serve.
"I had to stay very calm and collected throughout the whole match. I used every opportunity I had. He's a very tricky player as well, you don't get many rallies," he explained.
"You need to kind of fight through a little bit more to create those opportunities. I was able to be very solid and make things happen for me today."
It adds to a stunning tournament for Dimitrov, who backed-up his upset of No.1 seed Carlos Alcaraz. It was his first win over the Spaniard in the four matches they'd played.
"I want to put myself in those positions to play against all these players that are not only difficult to play, but players that I haven't beaten," he said. "I think, slowly but surely, I'm doing that."
At age 32, Dimitrov is also cherishing every moment of his career.
In China this month he's also been a Chengdu semi-finalist and a Beijing quarterfinalist; within those performance, he's embraced an "almost spiritual" sense of growth, both on and off the court.
"The amounts of emotions that I've gone through in that month, has been something I've never experienced in my life, and I feel like a big growth from it," he added.
It's the perfect mindset to take into Saturday's semifinal against No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev.
The Russian continued his impressive Shanghai campaign with a straight-sets win over Ugo Humbert.
Rublev competed with clinical authority as he managed the threat of the French left-hander, who upset No.4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in Shanghai's third round.
Helped by service breaks in the third and fifth games of the opening set, Rublev held a one-set lead after 43 minutes and seized the last four games to complete the 6-2 6-3 win.
The business-like performance, completed in exactly one hour and 30 minutes, was especially pleasing after Rublev lost to Humbert at his previous tournament in China.
"The match in Beijing, both of us played great tennis and I had chances," said the No.5 seed, who has now won all four of his Rolex Shanghai Masters matches in straight sets.
"I tried to not make the same mistakes today and I did really well. I am happy to win in straight sets. I played a great match and I am happy to win today."