Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov continues his pursuit for a place in the year-end ATP World Tour Finals in London this week as the fifth-seed in the Swiss Indoors Open in Basel. Dimitrov has been drawn against highly-touted teenager Alexander Zverev of Germany in the first round, with the match scheduled for the evening of October 22.
Last week, Dimitrov reached the final of the Stockholm Open, but fell short in defending his first career title, losing to Tomas Berdych in three sets 7-5, 4-6, 4-6. The loss pushed the Bulgarian out of the ATP Tour top 10 for the first time since July.
Dimitrov is ranked 11th and will need a strong performance in Basel and the final Masters tournament of the year, in Paris next week, to book his place in London.
However, his draw in Basel is a difficult one – should Dimitrov overcome Zverev, the current Australian Open junior champion and a surprise semi-finalist in the ATP 500 series tournament in Hamburg this summer, he will next play Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in the second round with a potential quarterfinal date against Roger Federer, a five-time champion in Basel who is also chasing a return to the top of the ATP Tour rankings, on the line.
Reaching the quarterfinals in Basel will not be enough for Dimitrov to add points to his standings in the ATP World Tour Finals race, so he would need a deeper run, as well as missteps from his direct rivals.
Britain’s Andy Murray is now in the eighth final qualifying spot with 3885 points, followed closely by Milos Raonic on 3795 and David Ferrer on 3775, while Dimitrov is next with 3555 points. Raonic is playing in Basel this week, while Murray and Ferrer (as well Berdych, currently in seventh in the London race) are in action in Valencia.
It is possible that Dimitrov might have to overtake only two, rather than three players, with world number three Rafael Nadal possibly withdrawing from the London tournament to undergo surgery, according to some recent reports.
(Grigor Dimitrov in action at the Toronto Masters in August. Photo: Marianne Bevis/flickr.com)