Grigor Dimitrov powers past Andy Murray to reach Mexico final

 

Grigor Dimitrov emerged victorious from an epic encounter with reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray to reach the final of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco.

In a gruelling match that lasted until the small hours of the Mexican morning, Bulgarian number one Dimitrov recovered from the loss of the first set to win 4-6 7-6 (7/5) 7-6 (7/3) and book a showdown with big-serving South African Kevin Anderson.

Murray, who was playing in his first semi-final since winning Wimbledon last year, started strongly but wavered enough to allow Dimitrov to clinch a second-set tie-break.

The 22-year-old Bulgarian then fluffed a chance to break Murray for victory in the decider but dominated the last breaker to reach the third final of his career.

Murray dropped his opening service game in each of his previous three matches this week, but the boot was on the other foot this time around as he got the immediate break when Dimitrov pulled a forehand wide after a lengthy rally.

And, despite facing three break points, Murray held for a 2-0 lead.

Dimitrov held to get himself on the board and Murray followed suit, before sealing a second break for a commanding first-set advantage.

Some dominant play at the net saw the Bulgarian rally to reach 5-4 but Murray would not be moved on his own serve and duly clinched the opening set - his seventh in a row against Dimitrov.

He took the first game of the second set and, after Murray held, Dimitrov exulted with the crowd after winning an epic rally to go 2-1 up.

From that point on he retained the upper hand. While Murray could seemingly do no wrong on his own serve, Dimitrov was giving absolutely nothing away and the Scot did well to force the tie-break.

However, Dimitrov quickly surged into a 6-1 lead and, despite Murray forcing the breaker back to 6-5, he would surrender his first ever set to the Bulgarian in their third career meeting.

Murray soon found himself down a break in the third set as fatigue began to take its toll.

Dimitrov's dazzling display continued and he built a 4-2 lead before the British number one decided to drop deep in order to rally towards clawing a game back.

Dimitrov then put himself in prime position to meet Anderson by winning the eighth game on the stroke of 2am local time, but Murray promptly held to force his opponent into serving for the match.

The Scot let a break point pass him by when losing a fearsome rally but would level at 5-5 as Dimitrov's nerves led him to make two unforced errors.

The 11th game was an epic tug-of-war that went Murray's way and, having served for the match minutes earlier, Dimitrov was suddenly tasked with serving to stay in the tournament.

He held to love.

A visibly frustrated Murray would take the first point but Dimitrov duly powered through the breaker to clinch a dramatic victory over the second seed in just under three hours.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
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.

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz