Dimitrov Keeps Rolling In Rotterdam
The Bulgarian is coming off his second ATP World Tour title of the season, on home soil at the Garanti Koza Sofia Open (d. Goffin), and has a 15-1 match record in 2017. He opened his campaign this year with victory in Brisbane (d. Nishikori) before going on a run to the Australian Open semi-finals, where he lost to Rafael Nadal in five sets.
Dimitrov has laid down an early marker in the Emirates ATP Race To London, already third in the standings as he bids to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the first time.
Despite his home success in the Bulgarian capital, Dimitrov is determined to not rest on his laurels in Rotterdam. "It's another week now, another challenge and another opportunity to win. All eyes on that and focusing ahead," he said on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old Dimitrov, who reached the semi-finals at this ATP World Tour 500 tournament in 2013 (l. to del Potro), was given an early test by Zverev. The German, who stunned World No. 1 Andy Murray en route to the Australian Open quarter-finals (l. to Federer), fended off three break points in the sixth game of the first set before clinching the opener in a tie-break.
Dimitrov restored parity in the pair’s first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting, though, as he broke serve twice to claim the second set. Breaks were exchanged midway through the third set before Dimitrov broke decisively in the seventh game and closed out victory in one hour and 54 minutes. He goes on to face Denis Istomin for a spot in the quarter-finals.
"I think it’s always difficult when you change your whole atmosphere, with a different court, different balls, which didn’t make it any easier today," reflected Dimitrov on his transition from Sofia. "I just had to keep on playing and fighting at the level I thought I could do. I’m very pleased to get another win, there were a lot of obstacles out there and I think I handled it pretty well."