Grigor Dimitrov got little rest after reaching the final of the Apia International in Sydney last week and was back in action on January 18, winning his first-round match at the Australian Open against Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 7-6 (10-8), 6-3.
On a day that tournament favourites Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer received the most media attention after breezing through their opening matches, Dimitrov had to repeatedly dig deep after falling behind against the veteran 34-year-old Italian.
Dimitrov had his serve broken in the opening game of the match, but broke right back and then secured another break at 4-3, going on to hold serve and take the first frame. In the second set, neither player managed to break serve, but Lorenzi had three set points in the tie-break, yet was unable to convert any of them.
In the third frame, Lorenzi again broke Dimitrov’s serve early to take an early 2-0 lead, and had another break-point, but the Bulgarian rallied back to retain serve and won six of the last seven games to close out the match.
The draw at the first Grand Slam event of the year has not been very kind to Dimitrov, who has sunk to 28th in the ATP ranking after a poor 2015. If the seeding holds, he will meet Federer in the third round and will need every bit of rest before facing the Swiss former world number one, against whom he has a career record of no wins in four matches.
In the second round, however, Dimitrov should have one of his easiest matches of the year, facing qualifier Marco Trungelliti of Argentina, ranked 210th in the world.
(Photo: Brad Touesnard/flickr.com)