Resurgent Dimitrov Takes Out Murray

Bulgarian into fourth round of Miami Open

Grigor Dimitrov dug deep to upset World No. 2 Andy Murray 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-3 in the third round of the Miami Open presented by Itau on Monday. The stylish Bulgarian had not defeated a Top-10 player since May 2015 (d. Wawrinka in Madrid) and was looking for his first win over a higher-ranked opponent since January 2016 (d. Troicki in Brisbane), but made the most of his game to grind out the win in two hours and 25 minutes.

“To be honest, I just played better in the big moments today,” Dimitrov said. “I had quite a few opportunities and I used them.

“Even though I lost the first set, I kept good composure. I had to stay in the match and I had to be really focused. I think when I was 3-1 down in the third set, I knew I was going to get another chance because I was returning well, playing well in the key moments. I'm happy with all those things.”

Dimitrov started slowly, going down 0-40 in his opening service game and dropping serve two games later. He broke Murray right back to force a first-set tie-break, but hit a rough patch and lost 7-1 to fall behind.

The No. 28 in the Emirates ATP Rankings did not dwell on the negatives and quickly rebounded, racing to a 4-1 second set lead. He took control of the match by extending the baseline rallies, opening up the court with heavy topspin drives and forcing Murray into uncharacteristic errors. Dimitrov went 5-for-6 on break points in the final two sets and improved to 3-6 in the pair’s FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry when Murray hit the ball long on match point.

“[I made] a lot of unforced errors in the third set,” Murray said. “Obviously, I didn't start the second set particularly well. After winning a close first set you want to try and put your opponent under pressure.

“I think I lost my first two service games to love, so that wasn't very good. Then in the third set, he managed to get up a break and then I made a lot of unforced errors. Credit to him. He was more solid than me.”

It was Dimitrov’s second win in 13 attempts against a player ranked in the Top 2. His only previous fourth-round appearance in Miami came in 2012 (l. to Tipsarevic). Next up will be Frenchman Gael Monfils, who hit 13 aces and did not face a break points in a 6-3, 6-4 win over Pablo Cuevas. Monfils leads 3-1 in the pair's FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry and has won both matches on hard courts.

Nick Kyrgios powered past Tim Smyczek 6-4, 6-4 in 87 minutes to set up a meeting with Andrey Kuznetsov in the fourth round. The Aussie averaged 121mph on first serves and fired nine aces to move into the fourth round of an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event for the first time. He improved to 11-3 on the year.

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