Dimitrov Fights Back Against Janowicz
Third seed Grigor Dimitrov delighted the home crowd on Thursday at the Garanti Koza Sofia Open, rallying from a set down to defeat former Top 15 player Jerzy Janowicz in the second round 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
“The crowd won the match today,” said Dimitrov. “I had tremendous support and everything was amazing. I haven’t played at home in a long time, so I’m pumped for each match here and hope I can repeat this tomorrow.”
Janowicz only needed a lone break of serve to capture the opening set, but the Bulgarian gradually found his footing as the contest wore on. Little separated the two players in the final stages of the match, but Dimitrov grabbed the crucial break at 5-5 in the deciding set and comfortably closed out the match on serve in the next game to prevail in two hours and two minutes.
Dimitrov improves to 11-1 in 2017, prevailing last month in Brisbane and reaching the semi-finals at the Australian Open.
Next up for him is ninth seed Viktor Troicki, who scraped through a tight 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) match over Robin Haase. Dimitrov and Troicki are even at 2-2 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry, but the Serbian has won their past two matches.
Nikoloz Basilashvili caused the first major upset in Sofia by shocking top seed Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals. The Georgian player required just a single break of serve in each set. Basilashvili landed 77 per cent of his first serves and saved all three break points against him to wrap up the win in one hour and 18 minutes.
“I think I played really well on the important points and kept focus all the way through the match today,” said Basilashvili. “This is very special and one of the best wins of my career, if not the best one. It will give me a lot of confidence for the upcoming matches.”
Basilashvili picks up his second victory over a Top 10 player, having defeated Tomas Berdych this past October in Vienna. Last July, he became the first Georgian to reach an ATP World Tour final in Kitzbuhel (l. Lorenzi).
Next up for him is eighth seed Martin Klizan, who came alive in the latter stages of his second-round match with qualifier Daniel Brands to prevail 7-6(3), 6-2. Klizan racked up 12 break points to keep the German on defense throughout the contest.
Fifth seed Gilles Muller continued his outstanding season with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Mikhail Youzhny. Muller ran through the final three games of the match to advance into the last eight, where he’ll play fourth seed and defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut. The Spaniard leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head with Muller 4-1, including a win in the 2016 Sofia semi-finals.