Grigor Dimitrov has become just as famous for dating Maria Sharapova as he has for his achievements in tennis but that is beginning to change.
The world number 16 captured his second career title in Mexico at the weekend with a gritty three-hour win over South African Kevin Anderson in Acapulco.
The 22-year-old has been struggling to catch-up with the hype he generated when he came on to the tour in 2008 with commentators desperate to make comparisons with Roger Federer because of their similar style of play, notably the backhand.
Unfortunately for Dimitrov and the Swiss maestro the reality of those lazy parallels was limited to style rather than substance and they looked to only hamper his progress. Until he broke his title duck in Stockholm at the end of last year he was lumped in with the pile of under achievers but the way he recovered from a set down against world number four David Ferrer in Sweden signalled a change in belief that he could compete at the highest level.
He has taken that confidence into this season, going further than he had ever been at a Major at the Australian Open and his ability to battle back after going behind is becoming a useful and endearing quality.
Dimitrov lost the first sets in both his quarter and semi-final matches and showed great tenacity in making sure he didn’t let the momentum escape all together when losing the second set in the final.
This quality is especially important in Grand Slam tennis where players have more time to use that attribute if they have it, often separating those who win at the highest level and those who don’t.
From the 260 matches he has won on the tour, 100 of them have been on clay with a win percentage of 66% on the dirt.
That sizes up well compared to win percentages of 62% on hard, 57% indoors and 51% on grass.
Further encouragement can be found in his results on clay over the last two years. He reached the last-four in Bastad and the quarters in Monte Carlo last year and was in fine nick at the French before running into Novak Djokovic.
He also reached back-to-back semi-finals in Bastad and Gstaad last year as well.
As a result odds of 125/1 on Dimitrov going all the way look generous considering the prices for SW19 and NY, despite it potentially coming too early for him.
Its worth remembering that he was the youngest player in the top-50 last year so his best years are firmly ahead of him.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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