Dimitrov Ends Seven-Year Title Drought With Brisbane Triumph

Grigor Dimitrov (photo: ATP Tour video)

BRISBANE/WASHINGTON, January 7, 2024 (by Michael Dickens)

Grigor Dimitrov captured his ninth career ATP Tour title by winning the Brisbane International presented by Evie for the second time on Sunday. The No. 2 seed from Bulgaria defeated World No. 8 and top seed Holger Rune of Denmark, 7-6 (5), 6-4, in a two-hour, 16-minute final inside Pat Rafter Arena.

The ATP 250 hard-court event, an Australian Open tune-up, has always been a favorite of the likable 32-year-old Dimitrov – he’s won 23 matches in Queensland, most of any player – and his title triumph ended a seven-year, 112-tournament drought going back to 2017, when he won both the Brisbane and year-end ATP Finals crowns.

“I think clearly winning a title, it means a lot to me,” Dimitrov said in his post-match news conference.  “It’s been a while. I think having that moment is in a way what I’m after.”

En route to beating the 20-year-old Rune, the 14th-ranked Dimitrov gutted out a three-set win over former World No. 1 Andy Murray of Great Britain, and followed it with a trio of straight-set wins against Germany’s Daniel Altmaier, Australian wild card Rinky Hijikata and Jordan Thompson of Australia, winning 10 straight sets.

“I think playing against the top players, way younger than me as well, it’s a very good way for me to see where I’m at. I think this is in a way where I’m most proud with,” said Dimitrov, who improved to 2-1 lifetime against Rune. He made just 14 unforced errors.

Dimitrov 33 winners, including hit eight aces, won 77 percent (40 of 52) of his first-serve points and saved all three break points he faced from Rune. He outpointed his opponent 88-81.

“Of course, a win is a win, a title is a title, but I think seeing where I’m at is way more important,” said Dimitrov, who is 21-6 going back to last year’s US Open, including 5-0 to start this season. “I think the past four or five months, the things that I’ve been doing on and off the court, it has been a tremendous way in a way to pay off. I think that’s what happened today.

“It humbles me in the same time because I feel like I’ve been playing good tennis, and I also feel there’s a little bit more that I can get better at on a few more things. Who knows, if those things go right, what else might be coming my way.

“For now, I’m going to enjoy that, enjoy the moment, enjoy a couple of days, reassess a little bit, and back at it.”

Glasspool and Rojer win Brisbane doubles title

No. 2 seeds Lloyd Glasspool of Great Britain and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands won their first title together in their first tournament as a team after knocking off German top seeds Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz, 7-6 (3), 5-7, 12-10, in an hour and 56 minutes Sunday afternoon.

The winners saved match points at 8-9 and 9-10 in the match tie-break and outpointed their opponents 84-78.

Glasspool improved to 4-8 in tour-level doubles finals while Rojer, 42, has now won 37 doubles crowns spread over 16 different seasons.

By the numbers

Grigor Dimitrov is the first player since Andy Murray (2012-13) to win multiple Brisbane singles titles. He owns the most singles wins in Brisbane history with 23.

“Quotable …”

“I’m very focused on my side of the net. I’m focusing on what I do on daily basis, how I practice, how I sleep, how I eat, what I do, what kind of work I do in the gym, what are we working with the team. There are so many variable things I do on a daily basis that I don’t think – I know it sounds weird – but I don’t think about I’m playing really well, no. It’s more how am I going to compose a point, what am I going to do during a match, what am I going to do in a clutch moment, how am I going to go after the ball. For me, that’s the fun part right now.”

Grigor Dimitrov, during his post-match news conference, on his current mindset for the game.