Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Dimitrov shows off soft hands in win over Thiem

Dimitrov shows off soft hands in win over Thiem

Grigor Dimitrov's ATP Finals debut ended victoriously as he overcame Dominic Thiem 6-3 5-7 7-5 at the O2 Arena on Monday.

Dimitrov opened his charge in London with a determined 6-3 5-7 7-5 win over his Austrian counterpart, who is ranked two places higher in the rankings.

And Dimitrov finally triumphed after two hours and 22 minutes, serving out victory via a nervy deuce.

Dimitrov will play Nadal on Wednesday if the Spaniard beats David Goffin later today, and he will be full of confidence after producing some great net play and battling through after Thiem made his second set comeback.

"I'm not going to lie, I was pretty nervous in my first match out here", Dimitrov said.

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. The 26-year-old is the first Bulgarian qualifier here in the competition's 48-year history and he admitted on court afterwards that he had struggled to handle the pressure.

The sixth seed, who has enjoyed the best season of his career, looked wobbly as he blew his chance to serve for the match at 5-4 in the decider only to hit back immediately as Thiem himself faltered, sealing victory on his third match point.

Instead of sending the match in the tie break, Dominic played an terrible service game to get broken again and fell 6-5 behind, hitting costly double faults to reduce his chances, and Dimitrov sealed the deal with a solid hold in game 12.

But the Austrian, perhaps also affected by the jitters, failed to consolidate as two consecutive double faults allowed Dimitrov a 6-5 advantage and a chance to serve out.

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