Dimitrov stuns Murray, Monfils continues no-nonsense trek through draw

Roger Federer. Rafael Nadal. Stan Wawrinka. David Ferrer. All four of those names could not be found in the Miami Open draw when play began on Monday. The damage continued on both the women’s and men’s sides, starting with losses by Agnieszka Radwanska and Serena Williams. Andy Murray followed suit to wrap up Monday’s day session, as he fell to Grigor Dimitrov 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-3.

Dimitrov fell behind 3-1 in the final set of the third-round showdown but ran off five consecutive games to wrap up the victory in impressive style after two hours and 25 minutes. It was a much-needed result for the Bulgarian, who currently sits 20 spots off his career-high ranking at 28th in the world. He had not defeated a top-10 opponent since upsetting then-No. 9 Stan Wawrinka on clay courts of Monte-Carlo last spring. This is Dimitrov’s second-ever win at the expense of a top-2 opponent, having previously stunned world No. 1 Novak Djokovic three years ago in Madrid.
“I’m happy,” Dimitrov commented. “Of course I’m happy with that victory. Every time you beat a top player you know you must have done something good.

“I played quite a few times against [Murray]. I think we know our games pretty well. I just played better in the good moments today. That’s it. I think I was just a smart player throughout the course of the whole match. Even though I lost the first set, I kept a good composure…. I think when I was 3-1 down in the third set, I really felt that I know I’m going to get another chance because I was returning well, playing very good in the key moments.”

Murray played just about a flawless opening tiebreaker, but he struggled in the pressure-packed moments throughout the duration of the match. After trailing 4-0 in the second, he had a break point to get back on level terms at 5-5 but could not convert. The Scot also dropped his last three service games of the afternoon without even getting to deuce a single time.

“(I made) a lot of unforced errors in the third set for sure,” Murray admitted. “Obviously (I) didn’t start the second set particularly well. After winning a close first set you obviously want to try and put your opponent under pressure. Credit to him. He was more solid than me…. Physically it was okay. I mean, the conditions were actually not that bad today. It was just humid. Obviously the cloud cover helped. It was just very, very humid. Physically I was okay.”

Dimitrov will have to be ready for another physical contest against Gael Monfils on Tuesday. Monfils has enjoyed a much more routine path through the Miami draw, having erased Tatsuma Ito and Pablo Cuevas in easy straight sets. Dimitrov, on the other hand, preceded his scalp of Murray by surviving Federico Delbonis 7-6(8), 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 39 minutes.
Joining Dimitrov and Monfils in the last 16 were Milos Raonic, Nick Kyrgios, Kei Nishikori, Roberto Bautista Agut, Damir Dzumhur, and Andrey Kuznetsov.

Photos courtesy of Miami Tennis News

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