By Ros Satar, in Cincinnati
- Grigor Dimitov  def. Nick Kyrgios 6-3 7-5
- Dimitrov hits season high with first Masters title – his biggest career title to date
CINCINNATI, USA – Grigor Dimitrov showed that the Generation Lost Boys were not quite in the wilderness with his first Masters 1000 title at the Western & Southern Open.
After the women’s final was a dominant display with the title being won for the loss of just one game, the men’s started as a much more tense cat and mouse affair. While Nick Kyrgios got a sniff of the the first break point chance in the match, it was Grigor Dimitrov’s return game that was just a smidge better than big-serving Aussie and his persistence paid off with an athletic return giving him the break he wanted, for the start of the match.
It was enough to keep Rafael Nadal’s vanquisher at bay, much to the delight of the crowd who did not seem to have forgiven the Aussie for beating their favourite.
The second set was a lot more competitive – Kyrgios was still maybe less decisive on his service game but neither player was giving an inch. Dimitrov looked to strike picking up the first two break point chances of the set with Kyrgios doing a great job of saving them.
It was maybe a lapse in concentration or the pressure of trying to stay in contention, but a rash of errors gave Dimitrov a break at the business end of the set, before double-fault-it is also seemed to strike the Bulgarian as he looked to close out his first Masters title.
He started the season strongly, and impressed many with his run at the Australian Open, before maybe losing his way a little midway through the year, but he certainly found his groove this week, in the perfect confidence boost on the way to the US Open.
Ever chatty, he detailed how he handled the ease of power from Kyrgios, with whom he shared a long moment at the net.
Dimitrov said: “I think the first set was very important, for sure. I thought he served pretty well. I
think that was getting him out of trouble pretty much every single time, and I knew — I mean, I knew I had to find a way just to get a few balls back and when it was very important.
“I think I did that very well. Yeah, after that, I just had to keep on playing, keep on with my game plan. You know, against him, you never know what’s going to come at you. I mean, he’s a type of player that can do anything and can generate unbelievable amount of power from pretty much any position, so I had to be very aware of that.
“I’m just happy and I’m humbled to have that trophy in my hands, and especially to win here, my first Masters 1000. It’s just amazing.”
Dimitrov spent some time with with Nadal at his academy, and credited the time not just with the 15-time Grand Slam champion, but just with the entire set-up.
He told reporters: “To me, he’s always been one of my inspirations. Sometimes when I’m down in the match, I’m, like, if I’m complaining or something, I was, like, Would Rafa do that? I don’t think so. The week I spent with him was just pretty amazing. Just to spend time with him, not even on the court. Even off the court. We were having dinners together and just going to the beach and stuff.
“The first half morning, we’re just practicing nonstop. I swear to God, nonstop from the early morning. I was, like, Whoa, can we have at least the afternoon off? I was more than thankful for him letting me have that opportunity. You don’t get opportunities like that. I think after today, I’m just going to text him, like, Let’s do
that again at some point. So, yeah, I think there is only positive things I can take
out of that week with him.”
A single Masters does not a US Open favourite make, but the renewed confidence could just mean that the march of the Next Gen is not all-encompasing – for now.
The US Open takes place between 28 August – 10 September.
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