The young bulgarian who turns 22 on May 16 secured the biggest win of his career Tuesday evening at the Mutua Madrid Open, stunning Novak Djokovic 7-6(6), 6-7(8), 6-3 to defeat a World No. 1 for the first time.
In a clash spanning three hours and five minutes, the longest best-of-three-set match thus far in 2013, there were numerous twists and turns. In the first set, Dimitrov denied Djokovic three set points, saving the first on his serve at 4-5, 30/40 and then battling back from a 6-4 hole in the ensuing tie-break. .
Both players struggled with physical problems in the second set. Down 2-4, 40/30, Djokovic slipped on the baseline, re-aggravating his right ankle. After taking an extended medical timeout to get it re-taped, the Serb returned to break Dimitrov. At 5-5, deuce, Dimitrov began to cramp. The two played out a second successive tie-break and after overcoming a mini-break deficit, Dimitrov held match point at 7-6. But the top seed surprised Dimitrov with a serve and volley tactic, forcing the Bulgarian to net a backhand.
Though Djokovic seemed to have the momentum at the beginning of the third set. Dimitrov regrouped to break for a 2-0 lead. He held his nerve the rest of the way through to notch his first victory in three meetings with the 2011 Madrid champion. Dimitrov improved to 15-0 on the season when winning the first set.
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