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Dimitrov To Meet Monfils In Round Of 16

New York, U.S.A.

Dimitrov© AFP/Getty ImagesGrigor Dimitrov advanced to his first US Open fourth round on Sunday.

Grigor Dimitrov survived an 0-6 opening set to advance to his first Round of 16 at the US Open, rallying past David Goffin in a battle of ATP World Tour young guns.

The Bulgarian needed two hours and 21 minutes to dispatch fellow 23-year-old Goffin 0-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1, firing seven aces and 29 winners, including 12 off his forehand side. The win gives Dimitrov his third Round of 16 berth at a major this year, following a quarter-final run at the Australian Open (l. to Nadal) and semi-final result at Wimbledon (l. to Djokovic).

A late-afternoon rain storm forced the encounter off Arthur Ashe Stadium's night session schedule on Sunday, and onto Grandstand court. Dimitrov started slow, serving at just 32 per cent in the first set and committing 11 unforced errors. The Bulgarian would right the ship in the second, however, claiming the set in 37 minutes and grabbing an early break in the third. Goffin would break back for 4-4, but consecutive double faults in the next game handed the lead back to the seventh seed and he would surge forward, winning eight of nine games for the victory.

"He played a great, great first set," said Dimitrov. "Whatever I was trying to do was just not enough. He was taking every ball on the rise, penetrating through the court, coming in, volleys. His game was just too good in the first set. But I didn't let go of my belief, especially coming into that second set. I knew that my serve was not working the way I wanted it to, so I knew I was going to struggle a little bit.

"But I thought if I kept a good composure and if I just stayed there mentally, I knew physically I was able to go the whole five sets. I wasn't even thinking about that. But it was just mind over matter."

Dimitrov became the first Bulgarian to reach the semi-finals of a Grand Slam at Wimbledon and the first to crack the Top 10 in the Emirates ATP Rankings a week later. The World No. 8, who won his 40th match of the season on Friday against Dudi Sela, improved to 20-16 in majors in his young career.

The Haskovo native will seek to avenge a first round defeat to Gael Monfils at the 2011 US Open when the pair meet in the fourth round on Tuesday. Monfils prevailed in straight sets in that encounter, but Dimitrov has since leveled the FedEx ATP Head2Head with victory in the Bucharest semi-finals this year.

Monfils won his seventh meeting with countryman Richard Gasquet on Sunday, triumphing 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 in just one hour and 55 minutes. He hammered 11 aces and 50 winners, facing just one break point. 

The Frenchman will vie for a second quarter-final berth in New York (2010) and second Grand Slam quarter-final of the year, having fallen to Andy Murray in five sets.

"Well, it's going to be a tough one," said Monfils on his impending encounter with Dimitrov. "He's definitely the favourite. It's the first time we switched. He's the favourite, Top 10, solid. I think he's very talented. He can hit every shot. But I think he has great defence. It's going to be interesting for me to try to play my game, be aggressive and we'll see how it's going to be."

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