After playing exceptional tennis to take the first set, Dimitrov slumped to find himself down 1-5 in the third. But chasing just his second win since Roland Garros, Dimitrov turned the match on its head by clawing back the double break – saving two match points in the process – to draw level at 5-all.
Then, things got even stranger. Wawrinka broke but was unable to serve out the match, Dimitrov breaking for a third consecutive time – courtesy of a spectacular chase of a drop shot and topspin forehand winner down the line.
But Wawrinka raced to a 4/0 lead in the tie-break and despite handing back two mini-breaks, he steadied to take the match, closing it out with 138 mph ace.
In a battle of two of the best one-handed backhands in the business, Dimitrov had the edge in extended rallies, topping Wawrinka 29-26 in rallies of five to nine shots, and 17-8 in rallies of 10 shots or more.
But most matches are won by the player who dominates the shorter points, and that is where Wawrinka stood out, claiming a 75-52 edge in points under five shots. Those included 10 double faults by his opponent.
More to follow…