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Dimitrov Stuns Djokovic In Madrid Epic

Madrid, Spain

Dimitrov© AFP/Getty ImagesGrigor Dimitrov outlasted Novak Djokovic in three hours and five minutes.

Grigor Dimitrov 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.

"Of course this has been what I've been working for, to play matches like that, and why not win them?" Dimitrov said. "Today was one of these days that I felt good on court. I felt I had enough hours of practice in the weeks before. I felt that I could actually hang with Novak the whole match. That's the whole purpose of getting ready for big events and eventually for big matches."

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.

Watch Dimitrov Hot Shot

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.

"I thought the tie-break was pretty intense obviously," said Dimitrov. "He stepped up on a few shots. He's Novak. In the end of the day, you can expect anything from him. He played a great tie-break, so I couldn't do much... Of course I tried to stay really positive. I believed in myself. I think that was the big sparkle coming into the third set."

Though he called it a "great win", the 21 year old also asserted that "it was just a match" as he looked ahead to his week in Madrid and future match-ups against the top players. 

"It's a great win for me. Good day at the office. I know it's a big thing, of course. But you got to stay on the ground. Hopefully you're going to face these guys for years. You never know how it's going to be next time... You got to be ready and try to work at it every day and see it as just another test to do and something exciting to look forward."

Spain’s Pablo Andujar posted back-to-back main draw wins for the first time in 2013, as the wild card backed up his upset over 11th seed Marin Cilic by defeating American John Isner 6-4, 6-4. Andujar, who has slipped to No. 113 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, will play compatriot Daniel Gimeno-Traver for a place in the quarter-finals.

Santiago Giraldo will face 15th seed Stanislas Wawrinka in the second round after dismissing Martin Klizan 6-2, 6-4. Giraldo saved four of the five break points he faced.

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