Dimitrov shocks Djokovic in Madrid, Federer eases through

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Grigor Dimitrov pulled off the biggest victory of his career with an astonishing 7-6 6-7 6-3 victory over World No.1 Novak Djokovic. The Bulgarian was the better player for large parts of the match, and troubled the Djokovic serve on numerous occasions in the first set. He failed to convert a 0-40 at 3-3 though and it looked like he would be punished after he faced a break point of his own but held his nerve, likewise at *4-5 denying Djokovic on set point. Dimitrov has often been found wanting in key moments against the top players and after breaking to serve for the set, he would once again fall apart allowing Djokovic to force a tie break in which the Serb would rush into a 4-1 lead. Dimitrov would fight back to 4-5, only to drop serve once more. Two more set points went away for Djokovic as Dimitrov finally took a set against Djokovic, reeling off four straight points.

The crowd was far from supportive towards Djokovic and showed their frustration during a medical time out which they believed to be gamesmanship for the Serbian when he was down a break. Djokovic would get the break back after the restart, annoying the crowd more. The breaks stopped from that point as five straight holds saw the match go into a second set tie break. Once again, Dimitrov would recover from a mini break in the tie break, coming back to 5-5 from 3-0 down. Dimitrov would win both points on serve to save the set point 5-6 down to earn his first match point. Djokovic would go for the serve and volley but it wouldn’t be needed with the Dimitrov backhand return going into the net. Djokovic finally silenced the vocal crowd for a while, taking the tie break 10-8 to force the decider.

With momentum presumably behind him, Djokovic took the first point of the third set only to drop serve. After saving three set points, Dimitrov finally held and would be fairly comfortable on serve for the most part after that, only being troubled at *4-3 when Djokovic got to deuce. With many expecting Dimitrov would fail to serve it out, he ensured there would be no such worries as he broke the Djokovic serve to win the match, showing why he is so highly rated by many.

There would be no such trouble for Roger Federer, who made light work of Radek Stepanek in a 6-3 6-3 victory. A solitary break at 2-1 up in the first set saw the Swiss on his way but he would need to save break points on serve to consolidate. A second break opportunity was available for Federer but his failure to convert meant little, as he would eventually serve it out to 30 for a 1 set lead.

Federer remained wasteful early in the second after he was unable to convert from 0-40 up but he would be successful next time round, breaking Stepanek from 40-15 up to take control. An insurance break for 5-2 seemingly put the match beyond doubt but a marathon service game would see Federer failing to serve it out after 2 match points and five break points went unconverted. However, for the second time in the match he found himself 0-40 up on the Stepanek serve and made no mistake, taking the third to move into the next round.

Also through in straight sets was Juan Monaco, who defeated Janko Tipsarevic 7-6 6-3. After a poor start in which he fell 3-1 down, Monaco reeled off four straight games to serve for the set. However he would fail to serve it out and eventually Tipsarevic would force a tie break. The Serb started badly though, falling down 3-1 and dropping a second point on serve to give Monaco three set points, two of them on serve. Tipsarevic saved both, only to drop the third on serve to fall a set behind.

It was much more straight forward for Monaco in the second, who dropped just three points on serve behind a 90% first serve percentage in the set. A single break at 3-2 would be enough to book his place in the last 32 where he will play Kevin Anderson.

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