DELRAY BEACH, February 18, 2016
The bottom half of the draw was in second round action on Wednesday at the Delray Beach Open.
With three of four top-seeds upset in the first round, debutant Grigor Dimitrov is the highest ranked player left in the draw. The 24-year-old Bulgarian had to fight hard, rallying past Damir Dzumhur 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Dimitrov won 51% of the total points, breaking his opponent’s serve six times to prevail in one hour and 57 minutes.
“I was trying to find my game. I didn’t think I was playing well. All the credit to Damir, he deserved all the way to win,” Dimitrov said. “I was just patient and I was very centred towards the end of the match. I thought I was very composed and just putting the ball in the court, that’s all I had to do. A win is a win.”
Dimitrov will face Adrian Mannarino next. The eighth seed from France battled past Tatsuma Ito, winning 7-6, 6-7, 6-3. Mannarino smashed 12 aces and capitalized on six of his 17 break point chances to advance in two hours and 45 minutes.
Benjamim Becker knocked out sixth seed Steve Johnson through a 7-5, 6-7, 6-3 victory. The German also got the better in the only previuos meeting between the two in Washington 2012. Becker surged to 5-3 and served for the opening set but lost eight games straight to concede it 7-5 and trail 4-0 in the second before he staged his comeback.
“I got a little bit angry at myself. At 4-0 I tried to hang in there, mix up my game, come into net a little bit more,” Becker said. “I lost a bit of my rhythm after I got angry at myself, I got a bit lucky. Obviously if you’re down two breaks your chances are very slim, but I played a great game to come back to 4-1, then you never know. He starts to think about it.
“I started to play more aggressive, he was more passive. I think the tie-break was the main point. He could easily have won that and won the match.” Becker withstood 13 aces, winning 53% of the total points to finish the encounter after two hours and 12 minutes.
The 34-year-old Texas resident will take on another US-American in the quarterfinals, as Rajeev Ram beat Illya Marchenko 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 in two hours and 32 minutes.