Grigor Dimitrov had his best tournament of the year last month in Beijing seeing off Steve Johnson, Lucas Pouille, Rafael Nadal and Milos Raonic before running into Andy Murray in the final.
Grigor now faces a new challenge in what will be his last tournament of the year and is looking for his 40th win of the year but standing in his way is the world number one Novak Djokovic.
Remarkably it has been just over two years since these two last met on the tour in Beijing with Novak winning 5 of their 6 meetings with the Bulgarian’s only win against Novak coming on the clay in Madrid back in 2013.
I watched Novak take on Gilles Muller in his first match of the tournament and it was a steady start from the Serbian. To describe the performance I would have to say ‘consistently good’. There were a few times during the match Muller was up 15-0 on the Djokovic serve and got a look-in at a second serve but couldn’t make anything happen where as I think Grigor could make a better impression on the serve.
However he has a serve of his own to worry about. When Murray and Dimitrov met in New York the second serve from Grigor was a free hit for the Brit who dropped 5 games in three sets against the Bulgarian which I wrote about below
Credit to Dimitrov it was much better in Beijing a few weeks ago but I think his best bet of staying in control of rallies early on during his own service games may be going for the body serve and potentially following in with a bit of serve and volley which the court does allow with it not being the fastest indoor hard court but suits the best defenders like Novak and Murray on the tour.
I think an upset is possible but because of the timing of the year and the stage Grigor will have to pull something epic out of the hat!