Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov stunned Andy Murray here in the semifinals of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, rallying from a set down to eke out a 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3) victory in a match that ended early Saturday.
Dimitrov, the world No. 22, needed just under three hours to defeat the seventh-ranked Scotsman at this 500-level event, whose surface was switched from clay to hard court this year.
The fourth-seeded Bulgarian went down early after losing his serve twice in the first five games. Although he recovered one of the breaks, it was not enough to avoid dropping the first set for the second straight match.
Both players controlled their service games in the second set, but Dimitrov won the key points in the tiebreaker to force a decisive third set.
Dimitrov went up an early service break in the final set but he squandered a chance to serve out the match in the 10th game and the contest then came down to a third-set tiebreaker, which Dimitrov dominated.
"At the moment it feels like the best win of my career," the Bulgarian was quoted as saying on the ATP World Tour's Web site.
"I always thought Andy was an unbelievable player. We all know how he competes. I was really happy with how I played today. I wanted to win badly. He doesn't give up easily, but I'll take that win in two tie-breaks."
Dimitrov will next square off in Saturday night's final against fifth-seeded South African Kevin Anderson, a 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 winner in Friday's first semifinal over Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov.
In the women's event in this Pacific resort city, top seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia will take on unseeded American Christina McHale in Saturday's final. EFE