After meeting five times over the past three years, all of which in important matches, Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov will once again cross paths on the tour, this time for a spot in the quarter-final round of the Australian Open. It will mark the seventh time that they meet, with Murray leading the head to head series 4-2, including a win in their most recent encounter at last year’s Paris Masters event.
Few top seeds looked as good as Andy Murray did in his third round match against Joao Sousa. The British No. 1 stormed through the encounter with minimal effort. He dropped just two games in the first two sets, then had a slight dip in the final set before finishing the Portuguese No. 1 6-1, 6-1, 7-5. Murray hit 39 winners, 9 aces and won 83% of his first service points to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open for the seventh consecutive year.
Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov came up against Marcos Baghdatis, a former runner-up at the event. He had to withstand 15 aces from the Cypriot, as well as 52 winners to close out the match in five sets 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. He won 74% of his first service points and converted four break points to finish the match in 2 hours and 59 minutes and set up the enthralling match-up with Murray.
“I’m always excited to play against him. You know, I had a tough loss against him in Paris. So, you know, it’s a good matchup. I always like that kind of challenge. I think physically and mentally I’m ready to play that match and really give 100% from myself. I’m going out there to win the match. So there’s nothing else I can say about it.”
This marks the seventh time that Murray and Dimitrov will cross paths on the professional tour, and could make for an entertaining match-up if both come in form. Murray has looked great since the start of the season and is clearly motivated to get back to his pre-surgery form. Dimitrov, on the other hand, is slightly shakier and has had a turbulent path to this stage of the tournament. Unless he pulls himself together, his time in Melbourne will soon come to an end.
Prediction: Andy Murray in Four Sets