New year. New coach. New girlfriend. New Grigor Dimitrov?
While finishing a season in the top 30 (Dimitrov is currently 28th) is respectable for most players, it is unacceptable by the Bulgarian’s standards. After all, he peaked in the top 10 at one point in his career. But 2015 saw him split from coach Roger Rasheed and break up with Maria Sharapova. Check out the Dimitrov v Troicki H2H results.
Franco Davin, who coached Gaston Gaudio to the 2004 French Open title and Juan Martin Del Potro during Del Potro’s heyday, is now on board. In turn, Dimitrov is off to strong start this year. He reached the quarterfinals last week in Brisbane before succumbing to Roger Federer in three sets. So far at the Apia International he has defeated Pablo Cuevas, Alexandr Dolgopolov, and Gilles Muller.
“I’m happy to be back in a final,” Dimitrov told the ATP website. “I’m aiming definitely higher and looking at the big picture right now. Whether it’s Brisbane or Sydney or any other tournament, it’s just as important as any other Grand Slam event or any of the [Masters] 1000s. I’m just taking this very seriously, but at the same time trying to enjoy the moment. I think I know when you do that, you feel happier.”
Up next for Dimitrov is Viktor Troicki in what will already be their second showdown of the 2016 campaign. They just went head-to-head in Brisbane, were Dimitrov survived 5-7, 7-6(6), 6-2. He also won their only previous encounter 6-3, 6-2 four seasons ago in Basel.
Troicki is the defending champion of this Sydney event, having triumphed in 2015 as a qualifier. The 22nd-ranked Serb is back in business this time around with victories at the expense of Tommy Robredo, Nicolas Mahut, and Teymuraz Gabashvili. It is abundantly clear that this is one of Troicki’s favorite tournaments, but he needed three tough sets to scrape past both Mahut and Gabashvili. The No. 3 seed may not have much left in the physical tank, and he has been known on more than a few occasions to lack resolve in the mental department. If this is another competitive contest like their recent tilt in Brisbane, Dimitrov would once again have the edge in the pressure-packed moments.
Prediction: Dimitrov in three sets