Dimitrov labors past Thiem at ATP Finals

Dimitrov labors past Thiem at ATP Finals

Grigor Dimitrov defeated Austria's Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 here in the opening match of the Pete Sampras Group at the ATP Finals.

With Andy Murray away injured, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are the stand-out attractions at this week's tournament but there may be few contests as entertaining as this one, lasting two hours and 19 minutes.

Dimitrov will play Nadal on Wednesday if the Spaniard beats David Goffin later today, and he will be full of confidence after producing some great net play and battling through after Thiem made his second set comeback.

"It, for me, was just one of those new experiences that I think I'm going to remember for the rest of my life, I think appreciate for the rest of my life", Dimitrov said. He served under 50% and he needed more than that to avoid those break points he had to play against, but he had a chance to fight until the very end, breaking Grigor's serve in the 10th game of the final set, when Bulgarian served for the win.

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Thiem applied pressure in game eight but it came to nothing, however with Dimitrov serving for the match for a second time the Austrian finally found a way through to level the decider at 5-5.

Dimitrov arrived in London as the world No. 6, which is his career-high ranking.

A single break was enough for Dimitrov to take the first set, with his fourth-seeded opponent only managing to land 37 percent of first serves on the zippy blue court.

But the Austrian, perhaps also affected by the jitters, failed to consolidate as two consecutive double faults allowed Dimitrov a 6-5 advantage and a chance to serve out.