SONY ERICSSON OPEN 2012
Dimitrov Upsets Berdych For First Top 10 Win
by Peter Holehan|
As Grigor Dimitrov watched Tomas Berdych net a backhand on match point, he placed his hands over his face in disbelief. With a smile from ear to ear, the 20-year-old Bulgarian clapped and waved to the crowd, and then took out a black magic marker and signed a camera lens.
He sprung about the court, signed some tennis balls and whacked them into the crowd to create some instant souvenirs. The breakthrough moment had finally become a reality for one of the ATP Tour’s young up-and-coming players as the No. 101 ranked Dimitrov outlasted Berdych with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 triumph in a men’s singles third round match.
Dimitrov advances to play No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic in a fourth round meeting.
Dimitrov, who had not defeated a Top 10 player in his nine previous attempts, came out with plenty of zeal. He won his first six points on his serve and smashed 10 winners in the first set largely on the strength of his powerful forehand.
Berdych, a former Sony Ericsson Open finalist, became the highest-ranked player in the men’s draw to be eliminated thus far in the tournament. The seventh seed’s best finish came in 2010 when he advanced to the final (l. to Roddick).
Berdych was also aiming to reach the fourth round here for the fifth consecutive time, but had some initial difficulty in dealing with Dimitrov’s powerful groundstrokes.
Dimitrov rifled 10 winners in both the first and third sets and finished by converting on five of nine on break point opportunities.
Dimitrov is now 2-0 against Berdych in head-to-head meetings. In their previous meeting, Dimitrov rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory in the first round of Rotterdam in 2009.
From the outset, it appeared that Berdych (17-5 this year) might be in trouble. Dimitrov (5-4 this year) succeeded on a break point chance in the eighth game of the first set when Berdych netted a backhand. On Dimitrov’s following service, he closed out the first set with a 134 mph ace.
Both players had their chances in the opening set. Berdych failed to convert a break point opportunity at 30-40 in the third game and again when he held an advantage in the seventh game. Dimitrov failed in the fourth game.
Berdych wasted no time in getting back into the match by breaking Dimitrov in the second game and eighth games of the second set to even it at one set apiece. In the third set, each player held until the ninth game, when Dimitrov reeled off the final three points to break. He then served out the match in the following game.
Tipsarevic finds his form late
It took a while for No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic, but the Serbian finally found his form in the final set to get past No. 18 Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2. Sporting red shades, Tipsarevic celebrated by lifting both arms and grinding his teeth after winning match point when Dolgopolov’s return bounded long.
Tipsarevic pounded 10 aces and lost just 14 points on his first serve (33 of 47). Dolgopolov committed 51 unforced errors in the two hour and four minute match.
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