Dimitrov reaches the final in Miami and will return to the Top 10

The Bulgarian will face Sinner in Sunday’s title match

March 30, 2024

By Staff

Grigor Dimitrov does not settle and goes for everything. After his relentless victory over Carlos Alcaraz, the Bulgarian put on an equally effective display this Friday to beat Alexander Zverev at the Miami Open presented by Itau. With a hard-fought victory 6-4, 6-7 (3) and 6-3, the Bulgarian advanced to his third ATP Masters 1000 definition and his first in Miami.

The result also lifted Dimitrov to No. 9 in the PIF ATP Rankings Live, ensuring his return to the Top 10 in the PIF ATP Rankings for the first time since November 2018. The 260-week gap between his Top 10 positions is the third longest in the history of the ranking.

“Now I fight my own battles. I run my own race,” Dimitrov said of his growth during that time. “I think all that comes with all the work we have done as a team. I am on a very different path in my life, in my career. There is a lot that has been done, a lot of work, a lot of everything behind it. I continued believing, I continued to thrive, I continued to have faith in myself… This is just the icing on the cake.

Meanwhile, Dimitrov achieved his 20th victory against an opponent in the Top 5 by beating Zverev, who was competing for his 11th ATP Masters 1000 final. The German is still looking for his first final at that level since Madrid in 2022, since his last Masters 1000 final on hard court was in Cincinnati in 2021.

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The match had high-intensity and extensive exchanges from the beginning. But parity was broken when Dimitrov broke in the last game of the first set to sign the first set. The development of the second set was equally even, extending the definition until the tiebreaker, where Zverev showed his virtues, made the difference and extended the match to the final set.

However, the 32-year-old with his brilliant volley once again found himself between a rock and a hard place at 1-2 in the third set. But he kept his cool once again, working the corners with crisp ball striking to keep the set level. That escape seemed to put the game back in his favor.

Shortly after, another volley winner – in which he fell to the ground while contorting his body to react – sealed his second break of the match for what turned out to be a decisive 4-3 lead in the final set and he never looked back.

“It was like a dogfight on both ends,” Dimitrov said. “I think we really went against each other, especially after that first set, I felt like he raised his game a little bit and was very, very strong throughout the second set and even in the tie-break. He put pressure on me constantly.”

“And then in the third set, he had a chance [de break]. I served well and then I stayed and continued with my shots. “I think in the end I played with a little more authority and moved the ball very well,” she defined.

Dimitrov was also able to break a six-match losing streak in his Lexus ATP Head2Head against Zverev. Now 2-7 in the series, the Bulgarian’s only previous victory came in their first meeting, in Basel in 2014.

His victory will allow him to face a Top 5 opponent again: Jannik Sinner awaits him in Sunday’s final after his 6-1, 6-2 victory against Medvedev on Friday. The Italian leads his Lexus ATP Head2Head 2-1, with wins in Miami and Beijing last season.


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