Bulgaria’s Dimitrov left to rue missed opportunities as he exits US Open

Grigor Dimitrov’s run at the US Open came to an end in the fourth round with a loss to Frenchman Gael Monfils in straight sets 5-7, 6-7, 5-7 on September 2.

Dimitrov came into the match favoured, but there was little to separate the two players early on, as both held service comfortably. With most points decided by quick rallies, spectators in the Arthur Ashe stadium that anticipated a show between two of the most entertaining players on the ATP Tour would have been disappointed by the first set.

With Dimitrov’s service beginning to slip after a strong start, Monfils took the first set after making several big winners to break service at his first opportunity, half an hour into the match.

Prone to emotional outbursts, the Frenchman played unusually calm, but his fiery temperament showed up in the second frame, when Monfils started remonstrating loudly with himself after allowing Dimitrov to break back to even the set at 4-4. Before that, Dimitrov had several opportunities to take the lead as Monfils was clearly struggling with his grip, but failed to take advantage.

With Monfils still fuming, a visibly calmer Dimitrov had a chance to put pressure on his opponent, but repeatedly let the Frenchman off the hook with ill-timed unforced errors. In the tie-break, with two set points, Dimitrov’s errors became crucial, as he let slip a 6-4 advantage to lose 6-8.

In the third set, Dimitrov once again could have brought himself back into the match as the Frenchman appeared to struggle with the high heat and humidity, straining for breath between points, but the Bulgarian let every opportunity slip past, as Monfils repeatedly dug deep enough to produce a strong serve or a winner to avoid conceding a break.

In the end, Dimitrov’s ill-timed unforced errors proved crucial once again and he lost the match on a double fault when serving to force a third-set tie-break.

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(Photo: usopen.org)