Recently at the European Open in Antwerp, Alex De Minaur and Grigor Dimitrov played out an emphatic thriller. De Minaur just edged out Dimitrov 7-6, 6-7, 6-4. The match lasted close to three hours and had encapsulated some great shots and moments. Although Dimitrov lost the match, the Bulgarian gave a strong fight and some powerful jabs with his shots. One shot that stunned everyone involved a Rafael Nadal like banana shot.
Dimitrov’s single-handed backhand is regarded as one of the most elegant strokes on tour and it was on full flow versus De Minaur. Under pressure, Dimitrov hit a stunner with his backhand. Trailing a set down and looking for an early break in the second set, Dimitrov was forced to stretch outside the court to return Di Minaur’s angled backhand stroke.
Going as wide as possible, Dimitrov took the ball really low and hit a backhand ball just over the net which landed accurately inside the legal markings. If the singles net would have been used instead of the doubles net, then Dimitrov’s shot would have been around the net pole.
But De Minaur wasn’t backing out either. After conceding the second set to Dimitrov, the Australian had a chance to break Dimitrov’s serve at 3-3 in the final set. Just managing to return Dimitrov’s powerful serve, De Minaur then defended a few fierce forehands before firing an absolute screamer. With Dimitrov hitting a strong forehand stroke from the net it was traveling fast. De Minaur went with a full stretched backhand towards the open court and managed to connect it very well.
One moment which again showed us Dimitrov’s modest side happened in the match. In the final set, Dimitrov had served an ace but unfortunately, the ball went and hit a female spectator. Dimitrov straight away apologized and checked whether the girl is hurt or not. Later after changing ends, Dimitrov gave his armband to the girl as a consolation.
Next Dimitrov moves to Vienna for the Erste Bank Open where he will play against Karen Khachanov in the first round. After the Bulgarian ended the 2019 season with semifinal appearances at the US Open and Paris Masters, 2020 has been rather flat. Struggling for form and consistency, Dimitrov needs a reset and has to reinvent his game. Let’s see if the Bulgarian return to his 2017-2018 form.