Dimitrov shows off soft hands in win over Thiem

Yolanda Curtis
November 14, 2017

Making his debut at the ATP Finals earlier, Grigor Dimitrov has withstood a comeback attempt from Dominic Thiem and held on for a 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 victory.

The 26-year-old looked to have blown his chance to win when failing to serve out the match, but Thiem then produced two double faults in a row to hand the momentum back to Dimitrov.

Having dominated a first set in which his opponent managed to get just 33 per cent of his first serves into play, Dimitrov should have won in straight sets. A single break was enough for Bulgaria's Dimitrov to take the first set, with Thiem only managing to land 37 percent of first serves in front of a sizeable crowd at London's O2 Arena.

His breakthrough win coupled with Rafael Nadal's withdrawal from the tournament with a knee injury leaves Dimitrov poised to reach the semi-finals.

World number four Thiem, playing for the second successive year, raised his game in the second set and broke to love in the 12th game to level the match.

However, the third set proved a step too far for the 16-time Grand Slam champion, who began to struggle with his movement and was in visible pain as Goffin finally claimed victory.

"Every year you learn more about yourself, about the game, about the players", Dimitrov said.

The pair went head to head at the ATP Finals on Monday but it was not the one-handed backhand which determined the contest, more a nervousness at key moments which also seemed to stem back to the amateur days of the sport.

Again Dimitrov wobbled, squandering two match points at 40-15 with a double-fault and a tight forehand error, but he finally bagged the win when Thiem looped a backhand long.

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

"I think the best is yet to come. Now I can say that that barrier is broken", he said. "I was like, 'Not again, definitely not again, '" he added with a smile.

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