Prior to this match, Murray led the pair’s head to head 6-2, winning their last three encounters, with the most recent victory coming in Cincinnati 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-5. Dimitrov had tasted success against the world number two in the past, but only in his career best year in 2014, where he defeated the Brit in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in straight sets.
Murray Makes The First Move
Murray looked set to make the perfect start as he earned three break points in the opening game of the match. Dimitrov responded exceptionally, serving consecutive aces and outlasting Murray in the rallies to hold.
The world number two faced pressure himself on serve down 15-30 but also managed to get his opening game on the board. A double fault and a missed overhead handed Murray the first break of serve as he took a 2-1 lead.
Hotly Contested Opening Set
The following game somewhat mirrored its predecessor, but in a positive outcome for the 26th seed this time. Murray double faulted to gift Dimitrov a break back point and on this occasion the Bulgarian made the overhead to level the score. Both players squandered chances to break when up 15-30 in the ninth and tenth game as the first set went to a tiebreak.
Dimitrov began the tiebreak in nervous fashion, opening with a double fault and the Bulgarian never recovered from there as he lost the breaker 7-1. It was a hard fought set edged by the world number two, who managed to win an impressive 72% of points behind his second serve.
Dimitrov Takes Control
The second set sparked a change in momentum as the Brit’s level deteriorated rapidly. Unforced errors led to Dimitrov breaking to love. Murray’s disastrous start to the second set continued as he dropped serve to love again before receiving a warning for hitting his bag with his racket multiple times.
The 26th seed extended his lead to 4-0, having won 16 of the 18 points played in the set so far. Yet Murray was not out of this second set, holding to love before capitalizing on two Dimitrov double faults to pull one break back. The Brit’s response continued after saving a break point to hold for 4-3.
Successive holds from both men left Dimitrov serving to level the match. The Bulgarian squandered his first two set points, including hitting another double fault. After saving a break back point with a confident volley the 26th seed got over the line to take the set 6-4.
The Brit Strikes Back
The world number two raised his game in the final set, demonstrating his sheer will and determination not to lose as he broke Dimitrov’s serve to gain the upper hand in the set out in front at 3-1.
Grigor Gets Over The Line
In keeping with the close score line throughout the match the Bulgarian broke back immediately, playing a sublime return point to move just a game behind once more. Murray continued to make errors and it proved to be costly in the heat as he went down a break 4-3.
Another significant hold from Dimitrov put him one game away and as the error count rose, (54 in total for Murray) so did the Bulgarian’s chances of winning the match. The 26th seed broke to secure the set and the match 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-3 and will go on to face Gael Monfils.