Grigor Dimitrov overcame a spirited challenge from Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko in the second round of the Australian Open, winning in four sets (6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 6-3) to set up a meeting against Marcos Baghdatis in the third round.
Dimitrov dominated the match, scoring twice as many winners as his opponent (64 to 32) and winning twice as many return points (65 to 33), but Lacko refused to throw in the towel and his timely breaks of Dimitrov’s service pushed the match close to the three-hour mark, although in the end it was not enough to upset the 10th-seeded Bulgarian.
Dimitrov, who won in straight sets against Dustin Brown in the first round in just 69 minutes, could have spared himself some of the effort in defeating Lacko, but in the second-set tie-break he double-faulted on set point for the Slovak to hand his opponent the frame.
His next opponent is Baghdatis, who surged to fame as an unseeded finalist at the Australian Open in 2006 before losing to Roger Federer. Baghdatis advanced to the third round after defeating Belgium’s David Goffin, the 20th seed, in four sets 6-1, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.
Baghdatis and Dimitrov are familiar opponents, having met on six previous occasions, with Dimitrov winning five, including the last four matches. Baghdatis’s only win came in the second round of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, when Dimitrov withdrew in the second set, down at 5-7, 1-4.
The duo have also partnered for doubles matches at several tournaments in 2013, reaching the third round of the Australian Open that year.
Should Dimitrov continue the trend and score another win over the Cypriot, his most likely opponent in the round of last 16 will be Andy Murray, who also advanced to the third round on January 21 with a straightforward dismantling of Australia’s Marinko Matosevic 6-1, 6-3, 6-2. Murray will next play Joao Sousa of Portugal, who eliminated Slovak 32nd seed Martin Klizan in the second round.
(Photo: Brad Touesnard/flickr.com)