Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov notched his second career win against a player ranked in the ATP Tour top 10 on April 16, defeating Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.
Dimitrov, ranked 34th in the world, won in straight sets 7-6, 6-1 in just over 90 minutes, but it was the manner of his win that was surprising.
The Bulgarian, who drew comparisons with Roger Federer when he won the Wimbledon and US Open junior titles in the same year, has struggled with being in the glare of public attention.
His early exits at the Indian Wells and Miami Masters earlier this year both came against top-ranked opposition – Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. In both cases, Dimitrov took an early lead in the first set only to squander it with his own unforced errors, before collapsing in the second set.
The match against Tipsarevic was the opposite, with Dimitrov falling a break behind, only to save two set points on the Serbian’s serve. Dimitrov then rallied from 5-4 down to win the first set in the tie-breaker.
This only seemed to spur Dimitrov further – after a lengthy game to start the second set, which Tipsarevic won in the end, Dimitrov appeared even more determined to assert his will. As his domination of the second set became increasingly clear, the Bulgarian played several acrobatic shots to further drive the point in.
Dimitrov’s only previous career win against a top-10 player was at the 2012 Miami Masters, when he defeated Tomas Berdych in the third round (incidentally, losing to Tipsarevic in the next match).
While Dimitrov’s opponent in the third round will not be decided until April 17, the Bulgarian remains on track to meet Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinal. Nadal, down to fifth in the ATP Tour rankings after missing the last two Grand Slams, is seeking his ninth consecutive title at Monte-Carlo.