LONDON: Bulgarian fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov swept into the Queen’s Club final for the first time with an impressive 6-2, 6-4 win over world number three Stan Wawrinka on Saturday. Dimitrov is one of the emerging talents in the men’s game and he underlined his growing reputation by overpowering top seed Wawrinka in just 61 minutes at the Wimbledon warm-up in west London. The world number 13 can now look forward to his third ATP Tour final this season on Sunday against either Czech 15th seed Radek Stepanek or Feliciano Lopez, the 10th seed from Spain.
At 23, Dimitrov is the youngest player in the world’s top 20, having broken into the upper echelons with a run to the Australian Open quarter-finals before winning titles in Acapulco and Bucharest. He possesses one of the most fluid backhands in the men’s game and, combined with his smooth movement on court; it is easy to see why he has often been compared to Roger Federer. Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych were among Dimitrov’s more high-profile victims already this year, while he came close to shocking world number one Rafael Nadal in the last eight at the Australian Open.
He added Wawrinka to that list of scalps with a sublime display of grasscourt tennis. This has been a year of firsts for Wawrinka, with the 29-year-old winning his maiden Grand Slam at the Australian Open, then claiming his first Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo before climbing above Federer in the world rankings to become the Swiss number one. He was keen to add a first grasscourt title to his list of notable achievements and had found Queen’s a welcome tonic after losing three of his previous four matches on clay, including a first round exit at the French Open.
But Dimitrov was the fresher man after his scheduled opponent, Ukrainian eighth seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, was forced to withdraw ahead of their quarterfinal with a thigh strain. That booked the Bulgarian’s second semi-final at Queen’s following a 2012 loss to David Nalbandian and this time he was able to go one step further. Dimitrov took just five games to became the first player to break Wawrinka’s serve this week, taking a 3-2 lead in the first set.
The Bulgarian was attacking the Wawrinka serve with some searing returns and he kept the Swiss sufficiently off balance to secure another break in the seventh game before closing out the set. There was no let-up from Dimitrov in the second set and Wawrinka conceded the decisive break when, under pressure on break points once again, he felt compelled to go for the lines with a powerful forehand. He missed by the narrowest of margins to surrender a 4-3 lead and Dimitrov gratefully accepted the gift, serving out his next two games to seal the win.
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