Late Wednesday evening, Grigor Dimitrov nearly saw his second-round match get completely away from him in Acapulco. But the Bulgarian regrouped from blowing a 4-1 double break lead, saving two match points before surviving in a decisive tiebreaker over Adrian Mannarino.
Earlier in the day, Dimitrov’s former longtime girlfriend, Maria Sharapova, announced she was stepping away from the game. There would be no organized sendoff for the five-time major champion, but Dimitrov, who fittingly channeled the Russian’s fighting spirit, had nothing but admiration for his once partner-in-crime.
“There’s so much I can say, [though] it’s not the place for me to say much. Maria is who she is,” Dimitrov told Prakash Amritraj. “Nothing but love and respect for that person. We’re great friends.”
Sharapova made the decision after injuries, particular her shoulder, took their toll, along with her ranking dropping outside of the Top 350. Though the 32-year-old didn’t get to soak up one final victory, Dimitrov has no doubt that Sharapova will maintain the same drive that propelled her to the top of her sport in her next chapter.
“I know one thing’s for sure: whatever she takes on, she’s going to do it at her best,” he said. “I’m sure we’re going to see a lot from her in the future.”
The seventh-seeded Dimitrov will take on No. 3 seed Stan Wawrinka on Thursday night for a place in the semifinals. Wawrinka owns a 7-4 head-to-head advantage, and has won five consecutive clashes.