Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov prevailed over Marcos Baghdatis in the third round of the Australian Open, coming back from a set down twice to win 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 and set up a fourth-round clash against Britain’s Andy Murray.
After the match, Dimitrov said he was not playing his best tennis and “didn’t really feel comfortable on the court. I wasn’t really comfortable with my game, but I found a way to fight through it, two sets to one down.”
Baghdatis, a crowd favourite in Melbourne since his surprising run to the final of the Australian Open in 2006, gave Dimitrov his sternest test of the tournament so far, with the match ending just short of the three-and-a-half hours mark.
It remains to be seen how much of an impact playing well into the afternoon heat will have on Dimitrov as he faces an opponent, Murray, who is yet to drop a single set in his Australian Open campaign this year. In this third-round match, the British number one efficiently dispatched Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-1, 6-1, 7-5 in just to hours and five minutes.
Dimitrov and Murray are familiar opponents, with the Briton leading their head-to-head matches 4-2. Dimitrov’s two wins came last year, when he had his break-out season while Murray spent much of the year still hampered by recovery from his back injury – although Dimitrov ended Murray’s reign as Wimbledon champion in the quarterfinal of last year’s tournament, the Briton won their last meeting at the Paris Masters in October.
Looking forward to his match-up against Murray, Dimitrov said that he was “always excited to play against him. I had a tough loss against him in Paris. I always like that kind of challenge. Physically and mentally I’m ready to play that match and really give 100 per cent of myself.”
The winner of this match will have a clearer path to the semi-finals after second seed Roger Federer surprisingly lost to Italy’s Andreas Seppi (4-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-7), making it the earliest exit for the former world number one at the Australian Open since 2001. Seppi will next play Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios for a place in the quarterfinals against either Dimitrov or Murray.
(Photo: Brad Touesnard/flickr.com)