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Bulgarian Tennis Star Grigor Dimitrov: Best Is Yet To Come

Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in action against Dominic Thiem of Austria during their round robin match of the ATP World Tour Finals in London, Britain, 13 November 2017. EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA



By Richard Pagliaro


LONDON—Close calls and missed match points have haunted Grigor Dimitrov at times this season.


The Bulgarian pushed Rafael Nadal to the very brink in the Australian Open semifinals before bowing in a pulsating four hour, 56-minute clash.


Dimitrov let four match points slip away in a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7) Indian Wells setback to Jack Sock in March.


That match was a prelude to a gut-wrenching defeat in Madrid where Dimitrov squandered five match points before bowing 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (9). Earlier this month, Dimitrov failed to convert a match point losing to John Isner at the Rolex Paris Masters.


So when Dimitrov failed to serve out his World Tour Finals debut against Thiem in London today, dreaded déjà vu revisited him again.


Only this time, the sixth-ranked Bulgarian wasn’t willing to give into the ghosts.


“I thought about my last match against John (Isner) in Paris,” Dimitrov told the media after fending off Thiem, 6-3, 5-7, 7-5. “It was kind of a similar situation. I was like, Not again, definitely not again.


“You know, whoever you play out here, you know it’s going to come down to the wire. It’s simple as that. I feel like I played an okay match. For sure I thought I could have done a few things different or better. But I think from now on, it can get only better.”


Learning from loss is imperative if Dimitrov is to fulfill his potential, make a deep run in London and crack the Top 5.


“I think just sooner or later you realize things in life, I mean, whether it’s tennis or whether it’s life,” Dimitrov said. “It’s the way you’ve been working, you do the stuff. I mean, I think there’s a lot of components that are kind of coming together at some point.


“You kind of I think make a decision. I think my decision’s been made since long time. It was just against like fighting with my demons to find the right path to be consistent enough. Other than that, I wouldn’t put anything away.”


The 26-year-old Dimitrov captured his first Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati in August. And while his Australian Open semifinal appearance is the only time in his last 13 majors Dimitrov has surpassed the fourth round, he believes a major breakthrough is coming.


“I think the best is yet to come,” Dimitrov said. “I’m super excited for what’s ahead. I’m already looking for the next season. Getting excited also a little bit for the offseason, which it’s not the most exciting time, but I’m getting excited. I think that’s a good sign, right?”

Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria celebrates after defeating Dominic Thiem of Austria in their round robin match of the ATP World Tour Finals in London, Britain, 13 November 2017. EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

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