Second seed Andy Murray overcame a shaky start to progress to the last 16 of the Sony Open in Miami, defeating Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets (7-6, 6-3), in a match that once again highlighted Dimitrov’s inability to close out against top-ranked players.
Dimitrov – a boys champion at Wimbledon and the US Open once seen potentially following in the footsteps of Roger Federer – was once again unable to press his early advantage, giving his opponent the opening to turn the tide.
Up 5-2, Dimitrov failed to convert two set points on Murray’s serve and pressed too hard in the next game, committing three double faults and handing the game to the Briton.
It has been a familiar pattern for Dimitrov in his matches against superior opposition – earlier this month, after racing to open an early lead against world number one Novak Djokovic at Indian Wells, Dimitrov committed four double faults when serving for the first set in their third-round match. He went on to lose in straight sets.
Both Dimitrov and Murray held serve for the remainder of the first set, but Dimitrov’s unforced errors in the tie-break handed the set to Murray.
The second set, too, followed Dimitrov’s established pattern – after squandering his lead in the first set, the Bulgarian seemed to deflate in the second, managing to save two match points but stumbling at the third try, when he sent his backhand shot into the net.
“It was obviously way cooler today [with] much slower conditions,” Murray said after the match. “The ball wasn’t going as quick. I was leaving the ball a bit short. Once I started to improve my depth a bit, I made it tough for him and he started to make more mistakes after that.”
This was Murray’s third win against Dimitrov in as many career matches against the Bulgarian, as well as the second this year – the two met in the final of the Brisbane Open in January, Dimitrov’s first career ATP Tour final, when Murray won 7-6, 6-4.
(Grigor Dimitrov, photo: mirsasha/flickr.com)