Dimitrov's victory at Queen's makes him strong contender for Wimbledon

Dimitrov wins title at Queen’s



Originally published on 15/06/14

Chris Kermode, the executive chairman and president of the Association of Tennis Professionals, always believed in Grigor Dimitrov’s ability and his faith was rewarded with the 23-year-old Bulgarian’s victory in the final of the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club in London. Dimitrov beat Spain’s Feliciano Lopez 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 to claim his third title of the year and establish himself as a major contender for Wimbledon.

In his previous job as tournament director at Queen’s Kermode twice stuck his neck out by giving wild cards to Dimitrov, a former Wimbledon junior champion. Dimitrov was ranked outside the world’s top 350 on both occasions, but Kermode was convinced that the Bulgarian was a star in the making.

Dimitrov has always been grateful for the opportunity to play in the tournament and after securing his victory the world No 13 made a point of handing his racket to Kermode. Dimitrov is the only man to have won titles on three different surfaces this year, having won on hard courts in Acapulco and on clay in Budapest.

It was a high-quality final in which serves dominated. Lopez, who won the title at Eastbourne last summer, has the perfect game for grass. The Spaniard’s big leftie serve is a major weapon on the surface and he backs it up with a splendid touch at the net. Dimitrov is also a fine grass-court player and the final was tight from start to finish, with only two breaks of serve in the whole two and a half hours.

Lopez went desperately close to winning his first title for a year and only the fourth of his career.  The 32-year-old won the first tie-break 10-8 and had a match point when Dimitrov served at 5-6 in the second set. However, the world No 29 wasted his opportunity, putting a big forehand return into the net on a second serve.

Lopez lost the second tie-break 7-1 but responded well at the start of third set by breaking serve in the opening game. At 4-3, however, he double-faulted on break point and the set went to a third tie-break. Dimitrov mishit a forehand on his first match point at 6-5 but on his second, at 7-6, Lopez netted a forehand.

“When you face players like Grigor, you know that even playing the way I played today there is a chance to lose because he's a great player,” Lopez said afterwards.  “He never gives up, as he showed today. It's tough to lose when you play such a great match, but overall it was a great week for me.  It has been a great preparation for Wimbledon and hopefully in Eastbourne next week I can do well again.”

Dimitrov, whose girlfriend Maria Sharapova watched from the stands, said: “This has always been a tournament that I’ve wanted to win. I remember playing here as a teenager. Ever since then I have dreamed about this moment.”

Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares won the doubles, beating Jamie Murray and John Peers 4-6, 7-6, 10-4 in the final. Murray reappeared later in the day to take part in the “Rally for Bally” charity match in memory of Elena Baltacha, who died of liver cancer last month at the age of 30. He was joined by his brother Andy, Ross Hutchins, Victoria Azarenka, Heather Watson and Martina Hingis.



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