WHAT HAPPENED: No. 7 seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria didn’t give the large Israeli contingent supporting Dudi Sela much to cheer about, cruising to an easy second-round victory in Louis Armstrong Stadium, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 o Friday.
Sela is a retriever who’s happy to run from side to side, so Dimitrov gave him plenty of short angles and forced him to come to the net when he wasn’t comfortable doing so. The Bulgarian immediately jumped to a 4-0 lead and then saved four break points on his own serve to extend the lead. A backhand passing shot from Sela in the next game finally got the world No. 83 on the scoreboard, but Dimitrov easily closed out the set on his own serve.
Both players traded three service breaks to open the set, with Dimitrov grabbing the early 2-1 lead. An ill-advised drop shot from Sela down break point gave the No. 7 seed a commanding 5-2 lead and Dimitrov finished off the set one game later with a service winner.
The third set was more of the same as Sela continued to struggle finding his footing, hitting twice as many unforced errors to winners on the day. Dimitrov rifled a forehand passing shot to take a 4-1 lead and easily closed out the match on his serve. He’ll be pleased to have wrapped up the match in just under 90 minutes and save his energy for the later rounds.
"We've played quite a few times and I know he can be tricky," said Dimitrov. "I thought I played really composed tennis out there."
WHAT IT MEANS: Dimitrov now has a 3-0 record over Sela after today’s victory. And having gone winless in his three previous appearances at the US Open, Dimitrov has been enjoying his best run by far at the final Grand Slam of the year.
It’s safe to say that the No. 7 seed won’t be content with a third-round finish, though. Next up for Dimitrov is either David Goffin of Belgium or No. 32 seed Joao Sousa of Portugal. Dimitrov has won all three previous meetings against Goffin, but they were all on clay and took place in 2010. Meanwhile, Sousa has beaten Dimitrov in both of their career matches, including the first round of last year’s US Open.
Looming ahead for Dimitrov is a potential quarterfinal blockbuster against No. 2 seed Roger Federer, who won their only career meeting last year in his birth city of Basel.
THE QUESTION: How far do you think Dimitrov can go in this year’s US Open?