Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov has booked his place in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells with ease and will play world number one Novak Djokovic, who survived a late challenge from his second-round opponent, Fabio Fognini, to progress.
Dimitrov took only 67 minutes to defeat Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden 6-4, 6-4, but managed to convert only two of his eight break points.
Djokovic, for his part, started strongly against Fognini, winning 10 of the first 11 games before his opponent mounted a comeback and force a decisive third set. The world number one rallied back to win 6-0, 5-7, 6-2.
“Mentally I was there,” Djokovic said after the match. “Confidence level is high obviously because of the run I had this year. Game wise, everything works. I had a very bad game at 4-2, couple of unforced errors, got him back in the match. Next thing you know, we’re one set all and a couple of tight games.
“But look, I’m not concerned. I know I have been in this situation before where I had minor setbacks in a match, especially in the opening matches where I’m trying to get used to the court, the conditions, and so forth.”
Djokovic, a two-time champion at Indian Wells (in 2008 and 2011) is now on a 14-0 streak since the start of the year. Dimitrov, meanwhile, has already improved on last year’s showing at Indian Wells, when he exited in the second round after losing to fifth-seed David Ferrer.
Dimitrov and Djokovic have only played once before, in last year’s Shanghai Masters, with the Serbian winning handily 6-3, 6-2. Their match is scheduled for March 12.
(Grigor Dimitrov at the 2011 Western & Southern Open. Photo: mirsasha/flickr.com)