Dimitrov Claims Maiden ATP World Tour Title In Stockholm
Dimitrov, 22, makes Bulgarian history with title run.
Grigor Dimitrov captured his first ATP World Tour title on Sunday, battling back to stun David Ferrer 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the If Stockholm Open final. The 22 year old becomes the eighth first time champion in 2013, converting his first match point to seal the victory in two hours and 14 minutes. He becomes the first Bulgarian to win on the ATP World Tour in the Open Era.
Dimitrov had the opportunity to meet with the Swedish royal family following the match, including Crown Princess H.R.H. Victoria, H.R.H. Prince Daniel and little Princess Estelle. Prince Daniel presented the trophy to Dimitrov, who was also invited to a meet-and-greet in the Royal Prince Lounge. "It was lovely to meet them; it was very nice."
Dimitrov denied Ferrer his third title of the year, defeating the Spaniard for the first time in what was their fourth FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter. It was the Bulgarian’s second final on the ATP World Tour after falling to Andy Murray in straight sets in the season-opening Brisbane International.
"It's one of my biggest wins," said an elated Dimitrov. "To beat a top guy in a final. It's a great feeling and it's good for your mental state. You know you can hang with these guys and the next time you play against them, especially in the Grand Slams, you will be better prepared."
Ferrer bolted to an early lead, securing the first set 6-2 after a flurry of service breaks from both players. Dimitrov would dig deep, however, holding off Ferrer with a late break in the second set to force a decisive frame.
The Spaniard had a pair of break points in the third set to go up 4-2, but Dimitrov held his ground, winning four straight points to hold. The Haskovo native would receive the decisive break when Ferrer double faulted down break point in the next game.
Dimitrov says he is even more appreciative of his perseverance and durability, as the match progressed, than the title itself. "Even if I would have lost the match, the most imporant thing was to test myself to the limits and try to control what I can. This was icing on the cake.
"I'm going to come on court and fight as much as I can. (Success) is never a guarantee. The best thing in tennis is that you have a next week. My goal is to strive to do better and work harder and eventually everything else is going to pay you back."
Known for his steady approach, Ferrer uncharacteristically hit 33 unforced errors and only converted three of 12 break point chances. Dimitrov, meanwhile, exhibited an unrelenting attacking display with angle abusing shotmaking, pouncing often on short balls for 43 total winners.
"He played great in the important moments. I had my chances in the third set," said Ferrer, referring to the two break points missed.
Competing in his first tournament with new coach Roger Rasheed, the Bulgarian will ascend to a career-high ranking of 22 with the title, adding 250 Emirates ATP Ranking points and claiming €95,700.
"We met before and wanted to see how it would work on a regular basis," Dimitrov said of his partnership with Rasheed. "This was a good stage to do so. We have two more tournaments to play and only time will tell for the rest."
Dimitrov is slated to compete at the Swiss Indoors Basel next week, seeded eighth. He opens with Radek Stepanek in the first round.