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Dimitrov Withstands Anderson Onslaught to Capture Acapulco Title

Acapulco, Mexico

Dimitrov© MextenisGrigor Dimitrov won his second ATP World Tour title.

Grigor Dimitrov survived a stern test from Kevin Anderson to win the Abierto Mexicano Telcel early Sunday morning, 7-6(1), 3-6, 7-6(5) after nearly three hours.

"Belief is the only thing that kept me going today," said Dimitrov, who had been on court till 2:30am the night before topping Andy Murray in the semi-finals. "I didn't think I was going to come back after last night's match. I'm really happy. This title means a lot to me." Dimitrov, who is projected to rise to No. 16 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday, added, "Every match I played was really tough, especially the last three where I played three sets."

Watch Final Highlights

Video courtesy

Dimitrov claimed his second tour-level title, having become the first Bulgarian to win on the ATP World Tour when he prevailed in Stockholm last year (d. Ferrer). The 22 year old became the second player born in the 1990s (Raonic) to win multiple titles, improving to 20-5 in seven tournaments under the tutelage of Roger Rasheed, who joined his team in October.

The Fairmont Acapulco Princess crowned its first champion in the self-proclaimed “New Court for a New Era,” having switched from red clay to blue hard courts after 20 years.

In a match that finished at 1:13am, Dimitrov survived an offensive onslaught from the baseline by Anderson, withstanding 13 aces and 46 winners for the victory. The South African was unable to overcome seven double faults and 52 unforced errors.

Dimitrov’s level dipped after emphatically taking the first set 7-1 in a tie-break. Anderson seized the opportunity, sprinting to a 3-0 lead in the second set and snatching an early break advantage in the third. Dimitrov proved to be steadier down the stretch, however, and when Anderson double faulted to give the crucial break back in the eighth game, it was only a matter of time before the Bulgarian rode the momentum to the finish line.

Anderson would relinquish a mini-break lead in the deciding tie-break and when he sent a backhand long at 5-5, Dimitrov capitalised on his first match point, improving to 5-0 in tie-break sets in Acapulco and donning the champion’s sombrero. It was just the fourth final in the 21-year history of the tournament to be decided in three sets.

Dimitrov will vault from No. 28 in the Emirates ATP Rankings to a projected World No. 16, a career-high. He takes home $316,400 with the title, while Anderson pockets $142,650 and 300 Emirates ATP Ranking points, ascending to a career-high World No. 17.

It was the Haskovo native’s fourth victory over Anderson in five FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings. Dimitrov’s win marks the first by a non-Spaniard in Acapulco in six years, with Nicolas Almagro (2008-09), David Ferrer (2010-12) and Rafael Nadal (2013) having emerged victorious in that span.

Anderson was competing in his second final in as many weeks, after falling to Marin Cilic in Delray Beach last weekend. He was the first South African to reach consecutive ATP World Tour Finals since Wayne Ferreira won titles in Ostrava and Lyon in October 1995.

“I enjoyed the week,” said Anderson. “There are a lot of positives, but it's difficult. I'm going to have to move on and take positives and take belief, because you can get down or get even more motivated...I had my chances, I just didn't execute them."

Both competitors will feature next week at the BNP Paribas Open, the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament of the year.

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©Peter Staples/ATP World Tour


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