Grigor Dimitrov has continued his impressive year by reaching his third final of 2017 at the Cincinnati Masters.
The Bulgarian defeated local favourite John Isner 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (12-10) to set up an enticing showdown with Nick Kyrgios on Sunday evening.
Dimitrov – currently 12 places above his upcoming opponent in the ATP rankings – needed three sets to win their first and only clash to date when they met at Indian Wells back in 2015.
The 26-year-old is looking for title number three in Ohio having claimed the Brisbane International and Garanti Koza Sofia Open earlier this year.
He also reached a Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open for the first time since Wimbledon in 2014 and will be eager to maintain his run of hot form.
Dimitrov has ousted a series of capable opponents without dropping a set en route to the final two at Cincinnati.
Juan Martin del Potro, Feliciano Lopez and Isner are among his scalps this week, although Kyrgios represents a significant obstacle between him and the sixth trophy of his career.
The Australian has bounced back from a less than satisfactory season after bowing out at second round or earlier at each Grand Slam this year.
However, his recent resurgence has the potential to see him land a first title of 2017 after culminating in a stunning quarter-final victory over world No. 1 Rafael Nadal on Friday.
Dimitrov is in good touch himself, though, and will fancy his chances against an often temperamental player.
But failure stands to have a devastating impact if he experiences what he describes as his common reaction to defeat.
“I think losses, I think, they teach you the most, but it's tough,” Dimitrov said, per Tennis World USA.
“I'm not gonna lie. It sucks. It's terrible. You can't sleep for two days. You're pissed. You don't talk. You don't eat.
“I'm not gonna lie. Yes, this is how you feel. But, yes, you're supposed to feel that way.
“You need to grow somehow. You're going to grow winning matches like today, and you're going to grow from losing matches like that. But that's just as simple as that for me.
“Like, I don't want to get too down on myself, but in the same time, I don't want to fly high just because I'm playing well.”
Well, if that isn’t incentive to win, who knows what is.
Dimitrov is already on track to contest the deep stages of the US Open at his current level and a first ATP Masters title would bolster his confidence no end.
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