Grigor Dimitrov won his first 500-level ATP title at the Abierto Telcel Mexicano, defeating Kevin Anderson of South Africa in a nearly three-hour match that went into the wee hours of Sunday, 7-6(1), 3-6, 7-6(5). The 22-year-old Bulgarian had won only one previous title, in Stockholm last year, though he is deemed one of the bright future stars, and this win gives some encouragement to that notion. For Anderson, the loss was his second consecutive in a final, having lost in Delray last week, though both players will see a rise in the rankings on Monday, Anderson most likely to a career high 17-18.
The two players were fairly evenly matched through the first set, though Dimitrov sprinted through the tiebreak to take the first set, but the young Bulgarian faded a bit in the second, and Anderson went up 3-0. He won the second at 3, and went up an early break in the third, needing only to hang onto his big serve to win his first 500 title, but he double-faulted to give the break back in the eighth game, and the momentum shifted back to Dimitrov. The second tiebreak was a much tighter affair, but the Bulgarian took the title on his first match point.
It was an unexpected final match-up, in a tournament that this year included a rather new cast of characters due to a surface change. The Abierto Mexicano has switched to hard courts and become appealing as a tune-up to the Masters 1000 in Indian Wells. But even considering the change, it was a surprise final line-up. Dimitrov had taken out No. 2 seed Andy Murray the day before, and Anderson had seen off the top seed, David Ferrer, by retirement.
Cover Photo (Creative Commons License): Marianne Bevis