Grigor Dimitrov is frwsh off a victory in Cincinnati and hopes to continue his winning streak.

The 2017 Cincinnati Open draw lacked six of the top ten players in the world. Tennis fans were practically guaranteed some surprises. But I don’t think anyone would have predicted a Grigor Dimitrov vs Nick Kyrgios final. Today, the two first time Masters finalists faced off on a hot, humid day in Cincinnati.

Their only previous meeting ended with Dimitrov taking a third set tiebreak. Today’s encounter likewise appeared fated for a close one. Both players have played poorly recently, but were great during the spring hard court season (23-6 records apiece).  Both have played their best tennis this week. Dimitrov didn’t drop a set against a series of big servers and Kyrgios demolished Rafael Nadal in his second match in ONE day!

Here’s my recap of their match. For a more detailed look, check out our live feed. 

First Set: 

The match started with Dimitrov rushing the net and putting away a volley winner, and he continued on for a love hold. Kyrgios followed with an easy hold in the next. But then normal service was broken. Dimitrov saved a break point at 2-2, and then immediately broke Kyrgios in the next game. His defense in the forehand corner was especially lethal. Kyrgios seemed to be lacking a bit in intensity, and was tricked again and again by Dimitrov’s slice backhands.

Excellent movement and Federer-like forehands. With such domination from the baseline (17-4), the Bulgarian was not going to be broken. Dimitrov took the first set to love, throwing in his fastest serve of the week to boot.

Second set: 

Kyrgios fans may have hoped for a let-down from Dimitrov to start the second, but no such luck. Dimitrov continued to expose Kyrgios’s poor returning (on one unfortunate overrule, Kyrgios complained to the chair: “I don’t make returns that often”), and continued his sliding, lunging defense.

The only way Kyrgios could keep pace with this was with his speciality: bold, aggressive serving, including two second serve aces. At 3-all he faced a couple break points due to some sloppy backhand errors. But Kyrgios realized his baseline game was a liability and played intelligently to stay in the match. He hit heavy kick serves as a change up, and came into the net. 4-3 Kyrgios.

Kyrgios made a push in the next game, but Dimitrov’s defensive slices proved too tricky yet again. The Aussie held his own serve in about a minute to put more pressure on his opponent, 5-4. Pressure? What Pressure? Dimitrov held easily and then capitalized on THREE double faults to break and go up 6-5.

Dimitrov won the next game despite two nervous errors. The Bulgarian’s form was lights-out when it mattered.

 

Summary:

A great week from Kyrgios, but a poor match to finish it off. He was fooled by slices, lost his serve in the big moments, and lost the huge majority of return points. An even better week for Grigor Dimitrov, who has been excellent in all departments. He moves to No. 9 in the world and will be a serious contender at the US Open.

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