Grigor Dimitrov, known as “Baby Fed” for his stylish play and huge on-court talent, held true to form against Italy’s Simone Bolelli, winning 6-1, 6-4, 6-3. The No.29-seeded Bulgarian, famous too for being Maria Sharapova’s beau, was never really tested against his opponent.
Dimitrov, a Junior Wimbledon champion in 2008, quickly grabbed the first set against his No.89-ranked opponent in just 17 minutes. He struck five aces to none and hit 10 winners to just two to take the early lead.
Overall, the Bulgarian would go on to strike 15 aces throughout the first round match for a spot in the second round.
A more competitive second set took place next as Bolelli appeared to find the form that has amounted to a third round appearance twice at the All England club in both 2008 and 2011. Play became more prolonged and Bolelli successfully appeared to put himself into at least some attempt at testing his 22-year-old opponent. He would, however, never get a shot at breaking Dimitrov’s serve, which capped at 130mph.
But fresh off his best showing at Roland Garros by making the third round, Dimitrov put aside any doubts of his on-point form. He grabbed a break late in the second set to serve for the set at 5-4.
Although he would begin with a double fault and go down 0-30 in that game, a game for Bolelli simply wasn’t to be. When the shots counted most, Dimitrov came up with four big serves, including an ace, to not only put him on the board, but also take the game and the set. Although he won the second in 37 minutes, more than double the time it took to take the first, there was no turning back in form for the man from Bulgaria.
The third set too, proved to be business-like for the talented Dimitrov, who is still searching for his first ATP title. Without facing a break point, he raced to a 5-3 lead against the Italian, who is five years his senior at 27. Preying off errors and flashing more winners from the forehand side, he pushed his opponent to 30-30 on serve.
A long ball set up deuce for the two competitors in that game, but the Bulgarian erased any last efforts from the Italian to lengthen the match. In doing so and by winning the match, Dimitrov equalled his best showing at Wimbledon scored the last two years in straight sets.
Overall, Dimitrov played a clean match, hitting 26 winners and committing just nine unforced errors. Quite notably, he won nearly twice as many points as his opponent, taking 92 to Bolelli’s 57 in an hour and 22 minutes.
To live up to his nickname and to become a true “Baby Fed” however, the No. 29-seed will need to win quite a few more matches at the All England Club during the Wimbledon Fortnight.
20:24...But boy, it was a barrow-load of fun. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we did. Thank you for all your messages throughout, you've been the glue holding us together as the edges frayed amid the madness. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for us Brits to raise a toast to Andy Murray and Fred Perry. British sporting legends both.
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