Grigor Dimitrov won his first-round match at the Mutua Madrid Open late on May 5, defeating Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets 6-2, 6-4.
A week removed from his first career title on clay in Bucharest, which saw him rise back to a career-best 14th in the ATP rankings, Dimitrov made short work of the Spaniard, who was voted the most improved player on the ATP Tour last year.
The win improves Dimitrov’s record on clay to 7-1 this year, the sole loss coming in the third round of the Monte-Carlo Masters last month.
He will next play against Romanian wild card Marius Copil, ranked 164th, who surprisingly defeated Marcel Granollers, the world number 30, in straight sets. The match will be played on May 7.
Last year in Madrid, Dimitrov scored the upset of the tournament by defeating then world number one Novak Djokovic in the second round. Although he lost to Stanislas Wawrinka in the next round, it showcased Dimitrov’s improvement under Australian coach Roger Rasheed – since then, the Bulgarian has won three titles, becoming one of the highest-touted young players on the ATP circuit.
This year’s draw puts Dimitrov on course to play Czech Tomas Berdych in the third round – a player against whom Dimitrov has won on both occasions they met in the past – and then defending champion Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.
Although Dimitrov has lost all four meetings against Nadal, most recently in the Australian Open quarterfinal earlier this year, he has been among the few players to consistently give the Spaniard a difficult challenge, winning a set in each of their encounters.
(Grigor Dimitrov, photo: mirsasha/flickr.com)