SOFIA, February 9, 2017
Local favourite Grigor Dimitrov headlined second round action at the Garanti Koza Sofia Open on Thursday. The third seed battled past Jerzy Janowicz from Poland, rallying 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Dimitrov withstood 17 aces, firing 15 of his own and broke serve two times to prevail after two hours and two minutes. It was the Bulgarian’s first professional match win on home soil in his fifth attempt.
“The crowd won the match today,” said Dimitrov. “I had tremendous support and everything was amazing. I haven’t played at home in a long time, so I’m pumped for each match here and hope I can repeat this tomorrow.”
Top Seed Falls
Earlier the day, Nikoloz Basilashvili caused the upset of the week by knocking out the tournament’s number one Dominic Thiem of Austria. The World No. 87 from Georgia, who is just one spot from his career-high of No. 86 in 2015, emerged victorious from the first meeting between the two, winning 6-4, 6-4. Basilashvili saved all of the three braek points he faced, converting two of his own to advance in one hour and 18 minutes.
“I think I played really well on the important points and kept focus all the way through the match today,” said Basilashvili. “This is very special and one of the best wins of my career, if not the best one. It will give me a lot of confidence for the upcoming matches.”
He will next take on eighth seed Martin Klizan of Slovakia, who defeated German qualifier Daniel Brands 7-6, 6-2 in one hour and 26 minutes. Thiem, who opened last month with back-to-back quarter-finals in Brisbane and Sydney, made his main draw debut at Arena Armeec, was obviously disappointed.
In the opening match of the day on Stadium, Gilles Muller edged Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 6-3, 7-5. The 33-year-old from Luxembourg sent down 10 aces, winning 73 per cent of his first service points to seal victory in one hour and 21 minutes. Next up for Muller will be defending champion Roberto Bautista-Agut from Spain.
Steve Darcis set a quarterfinal clash with fellow Belgian and the tournament’s number two David Goffin. The 32-year-old from Liège defeated Andreas Seppi from Italy 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 27 minutes.