Stan Wawrinka scored his fifth straight win over Grigor Dimitrov, 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (4), to advance to the second round of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. He’s now 7-4 against Dimitrov, having also beaten him in Montreal, Roland Garros, the US Open and Wimbledon.
“I served three times for the match, but didn’t finish it,” Wawrinka said. “But I sat there in the tiebreak and I’m happy to have won it.”
Dimitrov, who is now 12-15 this season, has yet to win three consecutive matches in 2019. The 28-year-old Bulgarian has struggled with his form since claiming the two biggest titles of his career in 2017—the Western & Southern Open and the ATP Finals. He hasn’t won a title in nearly two years.
Wawrinka is going for his second ATP Masters 1000 crown. (Getty Images)
On Tuesday, Wawrinka was cruising in the third set, 5-1, when he came off the rails with Dimitrov winning the next four games to level the set 5-5. Having failed to serve for the match twice, the three-time Grand Slam champion broke in the 11th game, but was broken right back to send the match to a tiebreak. After squandering his 4-0 lead, the 34-year-old Swiss found a way to reach the finish line.
“It helps a little bit to have won the past few matches against him, but before that he was beating me most of the time. I knew I could expect a tough match,” Wawrinka said. “It’s a first round and you never play your best tennis, but the most important thing is to fight."
Wawrinka, who underwent knee surgery in 2017, is aiming for his first title since capturing Geneva on home soil earlier that year.
Up next for Wawrinka is Andrey Rublev, who rallied past Nikoloz Basilashvili, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-2, earlier on Tuesday. Wawrinka has won their lone encounter in the second round of Chennai in 2016.