Grigor Dimitrov Back in Top 10: A Resurgence of Form

Grigor Dimitrov in action ahead of the ATP Shanghai Masters.

Grigor Dimitrov has started his Queen’s Club campaign strong, defeating Adrian Mannarino in the Round of 32, a win that is just the latest chapter in a remarkable comeback story that has seen the Bulgarian climb back to the top 10 in the rankings.

Grigor Dimitrov 2023 Comeback

At the Australian Open in 2023, Dimitrov defeated Alan Karatsev and Laslo Djere. After advancing to the third round, he faced Serb, Novak Djokovic, who defeated him in straight sets. He then competed in the Netherlands at the Rotterdam Open. Dimitrov made an impressive run, defeating Aslan Karatsev, Hubert Hurkacz, and Alex de Minaur to reach the semifinals. There, he faced Daniil Medvedev in straight sets who was seeded sixth in the tournament. Although his run was cut short, Dimitrov returned to the top 25 in the rankings.

This impressive deep run was not replicated, however, in the following few tournaments. At Indian Wells, he exited early, failing to make it past the second round after a right knee injury. In Monte-Carlo, he defeated Ben Shelton in the first round 1-6 6-3, 3-6, but was unable to take this momentum forward and was once again defeated in the second round against Jiří Lehečka. This lack of momentum saw him drop out of the top 30 in the rankings. In both Madrid and Rome, he competed well but was unable to advance past the third round, being defeated by tough opponents like Carlos Alcaraz and top-seeded Novak Djokovic, respectively.

Geneva saw an improvement in his form. On his way to the final, he defeated, Roberto Carballés Baena, Christopher O’Connell, and second seed Taylor Fritz. He faced Nicolás Jarry in the final, with the Chilean taking the win in straight sets 7-6 6-1.

At Roland-Garros, he reached the fourth round without dropping a set. He then faced Alexander Zverev who took him out of the running 1-6 4-6 3-6. After qualifying as a main draw at the Queen’s Club Championships, he continued a similar form, reaching the quarterfinal without dropping a set, until a top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz 6-4 6-4. The Spaniard went on to win the tournament.

At Wimbledon, he continued his run without dropping a set until he faced Holger Rune in the fourth round. The Bulgarian took the opening set 6-3, but was unable to hold off a strong fight against Rune, ending his run in the Grand Slam 6-3 6-7 6-7 3-6. This consistent form led to his return to the Top 20.

At the Washington Open, after a walkover from Ugo Humbert, Dimitrov reached the semifinal but was defeated by Dan Evans, who went on to win the tournament. At the US Open, he reached the third round of the tournament defeating Alex Molcan and Andy Murray on his way. He faced Zverev for the third time in 2023 who ended his run 6-7 7-6 6-1 6-1.

At the Chengdu Open, the Bulgarian defeated Juan Pablo Varillas taking his 400th career win. In doing so, he became the first man born in 1990 or later to hit that milestone. In the semifinals, he faced Zverev once again who ended his run in straight sets. His form further improved at the Shanghai Masters, where he gave an incredible performance, defeating Aleksandar Vukic, Karen Khachanov and world No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz to reach the quarterfinals. Here, he overpowered Nicolás Jarry 7-6 6-4, before reaching the semifinals, where he faced Andrey Rublev, who halted his run 6-7 3-6.

His return to the top 15 of the rankings was after the Paris Masters. He defeated Daniil Medvedev in the Round of 32, Alexander Bublik, Hubert Hurcaz, and Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach his first masters final since 2017. He was defeated by Djokovic who took the match in straight sets 6-4 6-3, but he rose up the rankings to No. 14 in the world.

Even Stronger in 2024

He carried his 2023 momentum to 2024, where, at the Brisbane International, he won his first title since 2017. Dimitrov defeated Andy Murray, Daniel Altmaier, Runky Hijikata, and Jordan Thompson, to face Holger Rune in the final. He defeated the Dane 7-6(5) 6-4 to take his ninth career title.

At the Australian Open, he made his record 52nd consecutive major appearance, reaching the third round, but was defeated by Nuno Borges, who ended his run short.

In Marseille at the Open 13, he reached the final once again, defeating Sebastian Korda, Arthur Rinderknech, and Karen Khachanov. Fourth-seeded Ugo Humbert got the best of him in the final. The Frenchman defeated Dimitrov 6-4 6-3. In Rotterdam, he defeated Lorenzo Sonego, Marton Fucsovics and Alexander Shevchenko to reach the semifinals where he lost to Alex de Minaur.

In Miami, he continued his excellent form, with noteworthy performances throughout the tournament. Seeded 11th, his run saw him achieve his 40th top-10 win with his triumph over Alcaraz in the quarterfinals. He continued this run, defeating Zverev in the semi-final to reach the final. He stunned the German, utilising his devastating forehand, and was precise throughout the match, making only three unforced errors when taking the first set. After a tight second set, which the German managed to take, the Bulgarian returned stronger to end the match 6-4 6-7(4) 6-4. In the final, he was defeated by Jannik Sinner, whose momentum was difficult to cease. The Italian took the title by winning the match 3-6 1-6.

Clay and beyond this year

Dimitrov continued to make headlines at the Monte-Carlo Masters, where he played the longest best-of-three match in the tournament’s history, lasting three and a half hours, before losing to Holger Rune in the round of 16.

At the Italian Open, he reached the round of 16 to face Taylor Fritz after defeating Yoshihito Nishioka and Terence Atmane. The No. 1 American took out the Bulgarian in straight sets. Dimitrov had struggled to maintain his rhythm on serve and was defeated 6-2 6-7(11) 6-1. At the French Open, his win over Hubert Hurkacz meant that he was the second player born in the 1990s, after Daniil Medvedev, to complete the career set of both Grand Slam and Masters 1000 quarterfinals. On Philippe-Chartrier, he faced second-seeded Sinner once again in the semifinals. The Italian tested the Bulgarian’s backhand, but Dimitrov hit several forehand winners. However, it was not enough to stop Sinner’s dominant performance, ending the match 6-2 6-4 7-6(3).

Over the past two years, the Bulgarian has displayed grit, climbing past every obstacle to perform more consistently on different surfaces, a momentum that has culminated in significant milestones and is reflected in his rankings. At Queen’s Club, he has advanced to the Round of 16, after defeating Adrian Mannarino 6-1 6-2.

Main Photo Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports


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