By Ros Satar, in Cincinnati
- Novak Djokovic  def. Grigor Dimitrov  2-6 6-3 6-4
- Chance to pick up points after crashing out in the second round last year
CINCINNATI, USA – Defending champion Grigor Dimitrov bowed out of his title defence at the hands of Novak Djokovic.
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Novak Djokovic  def. Grigor Dimitrov  2-6 6-3 6-4
Defending Western & Southern Open champion Grigor Dimitrov’s up and down year continued as he finally completed a rain-disrupted third round. At the start of the match it looked as though fortune was finally smiling on Dimitrov as he looked the more decisive throughout the first set, but with weather that had disrupted the entire day with the day session continuing late into the night,Novak Djokovic came out the more rejuvenated. Despite Dimitrov taking an early lead, Djokovic surged ahead at the end of the set to level up, before rain halted play early into the decider.
In a one-set shoot-put it was another early break before the sit-down but for the first time in the match it was Djokovic pushing for the lead, and Dimitrov was left to play catch up. As Djokovic closed out his first match of the day.
Dimitrov’s return to the Top 10 was spurred on by his win here, his first Masters 1000 title, and then his win at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals, and he did reach the finals in Rotterdam but had hoped the 2017 momentum would have resulted in more than just a run to the Australian Open quarter-final.
With five matches in the hard courts, Dimitrov will how have to switch his focus to US Open where he crashed out in the second-round last year, following his Cincinnati win, which might afford him some breathing space as his points defence has just gone for a burton.
He said, after his match: “[Confidence] is going to be up and down, for sure, I think. Again, I haven’t played that many matches, so every match that I win or I play well, I want to take the positive out of it.
“And even if, from negative matches like last week when I lost to Anderson, I played a really bad match, but in the same time, I’m, like, okay, I need to try to get the best that I can from that situation, and, yeah, move forward. I mean, that’s all I have to think of right now and that US Open is around the corner.
“Take maybe couple of days off, maybe watch the match a little bit more, see what I could have done better or things that I need to focus on, keep on working and, yeah, I mean, we start again in New York.”
Dimitrov has reached the fourth round twice in New York, in 2014 and 2016.
The US Open takes place between 27 August and 9 September.
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