Aegon Championships 2014: Maria Sharapova's boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov in dreamland after clinching Queen’s Club title

The Bulgarian defeated Feliciano Lopez 6-7, 7-6, 7-6

Queen’s Club

Grigor Dimitrov’s talent has never been in doubt but the 23-year-old Bulgarian showed here on Sunday that he has the mental strength to go with his outstanding ability. Dimitrov claimed his third title of the year by winning the Aegon Championships but had to save a match point before overcoming Feliciano Lopez 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 in a high-quality final.

It was a popular victory by the world No 13, who at the end presented his racket to Chris Kermode, the executive chairman and president of the Association of Tennis Professionals, which runs the men’s game. In his previous job as tournament director at Queen’s Kermode twice stuck his neck out by giving wild cards to Dimitrov, who was ranked outside the world’s top 350 at the time.

Dimitrov’s delight was evident in his leap of celebration. “This has always been a tournament that I’ve wanted to win,” he said. “I remember playing here as a teenager. Ever since then I have dreamt about that moment.”

Maria Sharapova, Dimitrov’s girlfriend, watched from the stands. “She’s just been unbelievable, with me throughout all the year so far and just supporting me,” he said. “The feeling is pretty mutual. I hope that’s not going to be the last tournament that she’s at. Having Maria on my side definitely adds up. There is a lot to learn from a tremendous champion like her.”

Many previous champions at Queen’s Club – including Andy Murray, last year’s winner – have gone on to Wimbledon glory. Dimitrov will head for the All England Club next week as the only player on the men’s tour who has claimed titles on three different surfaces this year, having won on hard courts in Acapulco and on clay in Bucharest.

“I’ll be going to Wimbledon with a lot of positive vibes,” he said. “I’ll be trying to play my game the same way I did here, match by match.”

Maria Sharapova looks on at Queen's Maria Sharapova looks on at Queen's The final was an echo of grass-court tennis from yesteryear, with serves dominating and break points few and far between. There were just two breaks of serve in the whole two and a half hours.

Lopez, who won his last title on grass at Eastbourne 12 months ago, loves this surface. The 32-year-old Spanish left-hander, who beat Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek en route to the final, served beautifully and ventured up to the net at every opportunity.

Dimitrov saved two set points in the first tie-break but eventually cracked as Lopez won it 10-8. It was when he served at 5-6 in the second set that Dimitrov showed great mental resilience. At 15-30 down the Bulgarian was winning the rally when a bad line call led to the point being replayed. Dimitrov went on to win the point with a splendid backhand cross-court pass and saved a match point later in the game when Lopez netted a return of serve.

When Dimitrov won the second set tie-break 7-1 it seemed likely he would run away with the third set, but Lopez broke in the opening game and held his lead until double-faulting on break point in the eighth game. The match went to a third tie-break. Dimitrov messed up a forehand on his first match point at 6-5 as the ball clipped the frame of his racket, but on his second, two points later, Lopez netted a forehand.

Jamie Murray and John Peers hope to be seeded in the Wimbledon doubles after their good showing here this week. They beat the Bryan brothers en route to yesterday’s final, in which they lost 4-6, 7-6, 10-4 to Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares. The day ended with the Murray brothers, Ross Hutchins, Victoria Azarenka, Heather Watson and Martina Hingis playing charity matches as part of the “Rally for Bally”, in memory of the Briton Elena Baltacha, who died of liver cancer last month at the age of 30.

Sport
sportGareth Bale, Carl Froch and Kelly Gallagher also in the mix for award
News
Japan's Suntory Beverage & Food has bought GlaxoSmithKline's Lucozade and Ribena
news
News
A tongue-eating louse (not the one Mr Poli found)
newsParasitic louse appeared inside unfilleted sea bass
Life and Style
The reindeer pen at the attraction
lifeLaurence Llewelyn-Bowen's 'Magical Journey' and other winter blunderlands
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Tana Ramsay gave evidence in a legal action in which her husband, Gordon, is accusing her father, Christopher Hutcheson, of using a ghost writer machine to “forge” his signature
peopleTana Ramsay said alleged discovery was 'extremely distressing'
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Windsor and Aljaz Skorjanec rehearse their same-sex dance together on Strictly Come Dancing
TV
Money
Anyone over the age of 40 seeking a loan with a standard term of 25 years will be borrowing beyond a normal retirement age of 65, and is liable to find their options restricted
propertyAnd it's even worse if you're 40
Arts and Entertainment
Perhaps longest awaited is the adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road with Brazil’s Walter Salles directing and Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen as the Beat-era outsiders
books
Arts and Entertainment
theatreSinger to join cast of his Broadway show after The Last Ship flounders at the box office
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'