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Dimitrov Edges Murray To Face Anderson For Title

Acapulco, Mexico

Dimitrov© MextenisGrigor Dimitrov advanced to his third ATP World Tour final.

Grigor Dimitrov reached his third ATP World Tour final after edging Andy Murray 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(3) in a nail-biting semi-final at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel that finished at 2:30am on Saturday morning in Acapulco. 

The Bulgarian claimed just the fifth Top 10 win of his career (5-25 record) as he held on for victory in the deciding tie-break. Dimitrov had served for the match at 5-4 in the third set before World No. 7 Murray staged a comeback. Dimitrov quickly established a 5-2 lead in the tie-break, though, and claimed victory in just under three hours.

"At the moment it feels like the best win of my career," said Dimitrov. "I always thought Andy was an unbelievable player. We all know how he competes. I was really happy with how I played today. I wanted to win badly. He doesn't give up easily, but I'll take that win in two tie-breaks."

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In Saturday’s final, Dimitrov will face Kevin Anderson, against whom he has a 3-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head record, though this will be their first meeting in 18 months. Dimitrov is looking to win his second title, having lifted his maiden trophy at the If Stockholm Open in October (d. Ferrer). He was also runner-up at the Brisbane International just over a year ago, where he lost out to Murray.

Anderson concluded a dominant February with a second ATP World Tour final berth in as many weeks. Anderson battled past Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-1, 5-7, 6-4, advancing to his eighth tour-level final and finishing the month with an 8-1 record. A two-time champion on the ATP World Tour, the South African dropped his fourth consecutive title match last week in Delray Beach (l. to Cilic). 

The 27 year old got past Dolgopolov in exactly two hours, firing 19 aces and converting three of 13 break points. Both Anderson and Dolgopolov entered the match bidding to reach consecutive ATP World Tour finals for the first time in their careers. The Ukrainian beat three Top 20 players en route to the final in Rio de Janeiro last week (l. to Nadal).

"I'm really excited about the match I just played," said Anderson. "I thought I got off to a good start. It was really difficult in the second set, he was hanging in there, created a chance and took it. I was happy with the way I finished in the third. It's the first time I've been in finals consecutive weeks. It feels great."

Anderson, who is making his Acapulco debut, leveled his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Dolgopolov, having dropped their only previous meeting at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 stop in Montreal last year. 

This week’s champion will halt the six-year Spanish reign atop the Acapulco throne, with Nicolas Almagro (2008-09), David Ferrer (2010-12) and Rafael Nadal (2013) having emerged victorious in that span. Anderson defeated Ferrer in Thursday’s quarter-finals when the Spaniard was forced to retire due to a strained left adductor.

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Lopez/Mirnyi Reach First Team Final; Anderson Going For The Double
The Spanish-Belarusian tandem of Feliciano Lopez and Max Mirnyi advanced to the Acapulco final in their first tournament as a team, defeating third seeds Treat Huey and Dominic Inglot 7-6(2), 6-1. Lopez will contest just his sixth ATP World Tour doubles final, seeking his first title since prevailing alongside Fernando Verdasco in Stockholm 10 years ago. Mirnyi, a former doubles World No. 1, is vying for his 49th tour-level title in his 90th final.

Anderson will contest both singles and doubles finals after he and Australian partner Matthew Ebden defeated Mexicans Cesar Ramirez and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela 6-3, 4-6, 13-11 in one hour and 31 minutes.

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