© Peter Staples / ATP World Tour

Grigor Dimitrov stepped up big this season when facing break points.

The Stat That Shows Why Dimitrov Had His Best Year Yet

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers explains how the Bulgarian upped his level when facing break points

Grigor Dimitrov has tightened his grip on his own destiny.

Imagine the server holding a tennis ball in his hand, and the returner trying to rip it free. That’s essentially what happens at the crucible moment of break point in a tennis match. The server still possesses the ball, but the returner is just one strong pull away from owning the moment.

It’s a battle of determination and nerves as much as strategy, and Dimitrov has vastly improved in saving break points this season compared to the rest of his career.

You May Also Like: Down The T or Out Wide? Depends What You Want

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of Dimitrov’s performance at break point in 2017 compared all the way back to the 2011 season, when he first broke into the Top 100, identifies improved maturity, strength and resolve that has powered him to a career best No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Dimitrov: Break Points Saved 2011-2017


Break Points Saved















2011-2016 Average


Dimitrov saved a career-best 70 per cent (252/360) of break points in 2017, which was 10 percentage points better than 2016. It was also fourth best on tour this year in this critical category. One big reason for the improvement was Dimitrov put more first serves in play when facing break point.

2017 Averages

  • Overall 1st serve percentage = 63% (3183/5034)

  • 1st serve percentage facing break point = 66% (237/360)

Dimitrov performed slightly better making first serves in the deuce court down 15/40 than he did in the Ad court at 0/40, 30/40 and all the Ad Out points combined.

1st Serve Percentage Down Break Point

  • Deuce court = 74% (58/78)

  • Ad court = 63% (179/282)

In the Ad court, where 82 per cent of his break points were contested in 2017, he preferred to serve wide the most, which also delivered the highest win percentage out of the three locations.

Dimitrov: 2017 1st Serve Facing Break Point / Ad Court

Ad Court Wide Body T
1st Serves Made 35 (57%) 7 (11%) 20 (32%)
1st Serves Won  27 (77%) 5 (71%) 11 (55%)

In the deuce court, where only 18 per cent of his break points were contested, every time the Bulgarian served down the T, he saved the break point (9/9), which was far superior to the 55 per cent (11/20) he won serving down the T in the Ad court.

Dimitrov: 2017 1st Serve Facing Break Point / Deuce Court

Duece Court Wide Body T
1st Serves Made  9 (64%) 0 5 (36%)
1st Serves Won  9 (100%) 0 3 (60%)

Dimitrov’s steely resolve helped him reach new heights in 2017. If he continues on this trajectory, he may be set to push even higher.

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