Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov became the first Bulgarian tennis player to win an ATP Tour title in the open era, prevailing over Spain’s David Ferrer in three sets to win the Stockholm Open on October 20.
Ferrer raced to take the first set 6-2, with both players having numerous chances to break their opponent’s serve. In the second, Dimitrov stepped up his game and evened the score by snagging a break point late to push the match to three sets.
In the third, the Bulgarian successfully defended all three break points on his serve and took one of his rare opportunities to break Ferrer for a final score of 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
“It’s one of my biggest wins,” Dimitrov said after his win. “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.”
It was Dimitrov’s third win over a top 10 ranked player this year (Ferrer is currently world number four), coming in his second ATP tour final – he lost in Brisbane to Britain’s Andy Murray in January. His maiden title pushed him six spots higher in the ATP Tour rankings to 22nd, but he will need a strong showing in the two remaining tournaments this year to make his pre-season goal of breaking into the top 20.
Dimitrov is seeded eighth at the Swiss Indoors Basel tournament that starts on October 21, playing against Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek, ranked 45th in the world, in the first round. The two have never met before.
The draw in Basel also puts Dimitrov on course to play former world number one and third-seed Roger Federer in the third round. Curiously, despite the numerous comparisons made between the two – Federer is player that Dimitrov has been most compared to even before turning pro in 2008 (some even calling him Baby Fed) – the duo have never met before.
(Dimitrov with his first ATP Tour trophy. Photo: www.stockholmopen.se)