Also referred to as “Baby Fed” because of a similar style of play to the Swiss great Roger Federer, Grigor Dimitrov from Bulgaria ends the dream run of Novak Djokovic conqueror , Denis Istomin. Istomin , a wildcard entry, had a stellar run in this grand slam, defeating the defending champion Novak Djokovic in 5 sets in just the second round giving the biggest win of his career.
His 3rd round match against the Spaniard Carreno Busta was another 5 set affair. 2 consecutive 5 set matches surely took a toll on his body and it showed today as his movement was hampered and Dimitrov was ruthless ending his Australian Open campaign.
Touted as one of the next great players, Dimitrov had not played completely to his potential, but he was completely in his elements today, marching into the quarters.
The first point of the match itself started in a spectacular fashion, quite a long rally in which Istomin emerged victorious, courtesy his down the line backhand winner- a treat to watch. Both dimitrov and Istomin looked in good touch as they held serve and levelled at 2 games each. At the 6th game, Istomin got 3 break point opportunities, converts the break and goes up 4-2 in the first set.
At 5-2, Dimitrov was serving to stay in the set. Couple of unforced error meant Istomin took the first set. Istomin was rock solid in the first set, made very few unforced errors and served exceptionally well.
Istomin was dominant in shorter rallies, easy points were on offer. Unforced errors hurt Dimitrov as both the players were even on the winners count. Istomin had a chance to break Dimitrov in the second set to go up 4-2, but Dimitrov held his nerves and levelled it 3-3.
Dimitrov finally got a chance to break Istomin at 5-5, but Istomin pushed the second set to a tie break. Dimitrov edges Istomin to take the second set. It was one set a piece.Two continuous 5 setters in the previous rounds had taken a toll on Istomin. As the match progressed, he was struggling.
3rd set was completely dominated by the Bulgarian. Istomin showed signs of physical fatigue, his first serve % went down, he was not getting easy points and this opened door for Dimitrov to unleash his skills, he rushed to a 3-0 lead, having broken Istomin. Istomin the held serve to make it 5-2, but the damage was already done and he took the third set to go up 2 sets to 1. Istomin was injury hit, his shots were not effective. The Bulgarian grew in confidence and he was the favourite to win the next set.
Dimitrov steamrolled past Istomin in the 4th set just conceding one game to win the 3rd set 6-1 and enter the quarter-final of the Australian Open.
Nevertheless Istomin impressed one and all with his game until now, his backhand down the line seemed effortless and a treat to watch and players like Istomin, Mischa Zverev ( who beat Murray) have instilled the belief in the other players that top players are not invincible and they could also be beaten.
Next up for Dimitrov is David Goffin from Belgium. “Do not judge a book by its cover” perfectly holds good for Goffin. He is not very tall, he seems very small but his shots are power packed. Definitely Dimitrov is the favourite going into the match. But this tournament has been full of surprises, you never know!