Grigor Dimitrov has reached his first final in more than a year after recording two wins in one day at the Apia International Sydney on January 15, one of the final warm-up events before this year’s first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open.
Dimitrov first closed out the match against Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine, interrupted the previous day by rain with Dimitrov leading 4-2 in the final set. The final score was 4-6 6-3, 6-4 in a match that lasted two hours and 15 minutes over two days and saw three rain delays.
Rain became a factor in Dimitrov’s semi-final against Gilles Muller of Luxembourg as well, interrupting play in the first set after the Bulgarian took an early lead by breaking his opponent’s serve. It did not appear to have an impact on Dimitrov’s momentum, however, as he broke serve again after play resumed on the way to taking the first set 6-2.
In the second frame, Dimitrov saved several break-points to force a tie-break, in which he again took an early lead and never relinquished the advantage. The 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) win ends Dimitrov’s two-match losing streak against Muller, who defeated the Bulgarian in both their meetings in 2015.
The final in Sydney is Dimitrov’s first title match in 15 months, coming after a forgettable 2015 that saw him plunge through the rankings to 28th. His opponent in the final will be Serbia’s Victor Troicki, the defending champion. Dimitrov has won both of his previous meetings against the Serbian, most recently last week in Brisbane, where he prevailed 5-7, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2.
(Photo: Marianne Bevis/flickr.com)