Dimitrov Beats Kyrgios For Maiden Masters 1000 Title
The best season of Grigor Dimitrov's career continued on Sunday with the biggest title of his life.
The 26-year-old Bulgarian beat Aussie Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 7-5 to win the Western & Southern Open title in Cincinnati, his third ATP World Tour crown of the year and first at the Masters 1000 level in his career.
Dimitrov matches a career-high with his third title of the season. He also claimed three crowns in 2014, winning The Queen's Club, Bucharest and Acapulco.
“I'm just happy. There's nothing else I can say, honestly. I'm just happy and I'm humbled to have that trophy in my hands, and especially to win here, my first Masters 1000. It's just amazing. I always like this tournament. I have played it quite a few times and always thought this can be maybe one of the first ones, and it is the first one,” Dimitrov said.
This season, Dimitrov started the year nearly perfectly on hard courts, going 16-1 en route to the Australian Open semi-finals and titles in Brisbane and Sofia. The right-hander struggled to get going on clay and grass.
But back on hard courts during the North American swing, Dimitrov has regained that early-season form and heads into the season's final Grand Slam tournament, the US Open, brimming with belief.
Dimitrov didn't drop a set all tournament and barely lost his serve, winning 52 of 53 service games. He became the first player to win his maiden Masters 1000 title without dropping a set since Novak Djokovic at 2007 Miami.
“Going to the Open, it's for sure a lot of positivity with it, but the most important thing now is just to stay grounded, keep on doing the same work, believe in myself, and just prepare the best way that I can for the Open,” Dimitrov said.
The Bulgarian showed how much the title meant to him after the match. After a long hug with Kyrgios, Dimitrov beamed at his coach Dani Vallverdu and walked over to him, sharing an emotional embrace with the man who has helped him turn around his career. They started working together about a year ago.
Dimitrov bolsters his position in the Emirates ATP Race To London, which determines the eight players who qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 12-19 November at The O2 in London. Dimitrov has never played at the prestigious season-ending tournament but he's projected to rise to sixth in the Race.
Neither he nor Kyrgios had played in a Masters 1000 title match before Sunday, but Dimitrov was the calmer and more focused competitor throughout the final. The seventh seed erased both break points in the opener and seized his lone break opportunity, returning a 129 mph serve from Kyrgios that the Aussie then netted.
Dimitrov, who had found ways to prevail past the big-hitting Juan Martin del Potro and John Isner earlier in the week, used his backhand slice and speed to stymie Kyrgios, who finished with 31 unforced errors compared to 21 winners.
Dimitrov tracked down the Aussie's big forehands and well-directed backhands. He also fended off break points and was clutch during his break opportunities, going two for four against the big-serving Aussie.
“It came down to a few points I could have done better than him, and I was just able to hold my nerves,” Dimitrov said.
In the second set, with Kyrgios serving at 5-6, Dimitrov broke during his first opportunity. He served out the set and match the next game. Dimitrov will receive 1,000 Emirates ATP Rankings points and $954,225 in prize money.
Kyrgios, who had struggled with hip and shoulder injuries during the past two months, enjoyed one of the best weeks of his career. He will receive 600 Emirates ATP Rankings points and $467,880 in prize money.