Dimitrov’s Desert Disappointment

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MARCH 10, 2018 – INDIAN WELLS, CA:  On a surprisingly cool Saturday evening in the Californian desert, number 4 in the world, Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, lost in a three set battle to the thirty four year old Spanish veteran, Fernando Verdasco (ranked no.34) in round two of this ATP 1000 tournament in Indian Wells.
These two haven't played since 2015 in Monte Carlo on clay, and of their previous three matches (Dimitrov 2-1), all have gone three sets.
Dimitrov received a bye in round one because of his ranking so this was his first match of the tournament and it didn’t go well.
In set one the players traded breaks of serves before going to a tiebreak when Verdasco's strong serving, and Dimitrov's weak serving and unforced errors, gave the first set 7-6(7-4) to the Spaniard.
Set two opened with a quick break of serve by Dimitrov and he continued to apply pressure, giving fewer easy points to the veteran left-hander. They later exchanged breaks of serve before Dimitrov closed out the set 6-4.
But the third and deciding set showcased Verdasco's determination and energy, and he returned to dominant serving, with blasts reaching 135mph in the thin and dry desert air.  Dimitrov struggled to hold his serve each time, and in the eighth game, missing every first serve, Dimitrov lost his serve and was down 3-5, and Verdasco served out the match, winning 7-6(4), 4-6,6-3.
Dimitrov will have another chance on hard courts in Miami next week before the arduous clay court season begins, where Grigor has struggled throughout his career.

Written by Evan Fabricant
Photographs by Dana Gardner
“Bulgaria SEGA” newspaper

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