The former No. 3 in the FedEx ATP Rankings eked out a 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 win in two hours and nine minutes to set a showdown with third seed Felix Auger-Aliassime. He had lost both prior ATP Head2Head meetings against Fucsovics, including a five-set defeat in the second round of last year’s US Open, and had won just 15 of his 29 matches in an injury-marred season.
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“I just stayed in the match. I had to change a few things. I had a good strategy but I was not executing it well enough,” Dimitrov said in his on-court interview.
“It was my first match in about three-and-a-half weeks so I’m a little bit rusty, but it feels good to win. It’s so good to have a lot of crowd and a lot of Bulgarian flags, just positive overall.”
Neither player faced a break point in the third set until the final game of the match when two double faults from Fucsovics proved untimely, the second of which handed Dimitrov a match point. The Bulgarian prevailed on his second opportunity to hand the World No. 41 his fourth straight defeat. Dimitrov won 77 per cent of first-serve points and 57 per cent on second serves.
“I’m feeling good back on court. The body holds up pretty well so this is the most important thing,” Dimitrov said. “Enjoy every moment you get out here. It’s been a year with lots of ups and downs but at the same time I’m hungry to play again and excited to be on the court. The results are coming with it I guess.”