Bulgaria’s top men’s tennis player Grigor Dimitrov qualified on June 14 for the Queen’s Club Championships, one of the main grass events in the run-up to Wimbledon, by defeating Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in straight sets 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.
Dimitrov, a former boy’s champion at Wimbledon in 2008, defeated his opponent with a better first serve, scoring 10 aces, including two in the final game, to Mahut’s three.
This is Dimitrov’s best appearance at Queen’s Club, but he has had previous success on grass before, making the quarterfinals of last year’s Eastbourne International, another pre-Wimbledon tournament.
“This is one of my most important wins on grass. It is always difficult when you play against a good friend, Nico is a great player,” Dimitrov said after the match.
Mahut, best known as the losing player in the longest match in tennis history – in the first round at Wimbledon in 2010 against John Isner, played over three days and ending 6–4, 3–6, 6–7 (7-9), 7–6 (7-3), 70–68 – had defeated defending champion and top seed Andy Murray of Britain in the previous round.
The two had never met before on the ATP Tour, but have played against each other in the Challenger series, meeting in two hard-court finals. Mahut had won the first in three sets in October 2010 in Orleans, but Dimitrov evened the score with a straight-sets win in Cherbourg in February 2011.
Dimitrov will next play ninth-seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa, who defeated fifth-seed Feliciano Lopez to get to the quarterfinals.
(Grigor Dimitrov photo by mirsasha/flickr.com)