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Dimitrov Edges Shapovalov To Reach Rotterdam Second Round

Grigor Dimitrov made an impressive start to his eighth appearance at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament on Monday, beating eighth seed Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 7-6(3) in Rotterdam.

In his 20th match at the ATP 500 event (13-7), the 2018 runner-up saved all three break points he faced — including a set point at 4-5 in the second set — to advance after 89 minutes. Dimitrov improves to 2-0 in his ATP Head2Head series against Shapovalov, having also defeated the Canadian at the Rogers Cup in 2016.

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Dimitrov has now won four of his seven matches at tour-level this year. The Bulgarian won two of three matches for his nation at the inaugural ATP Cup, before a second-round loss to Tommy Paul at the Australian Open. Dimitrov arrived in Rotterdam after losing in three sets to Gregoire Barrere in his opening match at last week’s Open Sud de France.

Dimitrov will face Felix Auger-Aliassime or Jan-Lennard Struff for a spot in the quarter-finals. The 28-year-old lost his only previous ATP Head2Head encounter against Auger-Aliassime at last year’s Fever-Tree Championships and is tied at 2-2 against Struff.

Roberto Bautista Agut’s hopes of a first title in Rotterdam were almost ended in the first round, but the Spaniard survived a second-set tie-break before racing to a 4-6, 7-6(1), 6-1 victory against Marton Fucsovics.

The World No. 12 recorded his ninth victory in 10 matches this season after two hours and 17 inutes, converting five of eight break points to secure the three-set victory. Bautista Agut is appearing in Rotterdam for the first time since 2016, when he advanced to the quarter-finals at the ATP 500 event for the first time.

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Bautista Agut has started the 2020 ATP Tour season in fine form, winning all 12 sets he contested at the inaugural ATP Cup. At the Australian Open, the 31-year-old fell in five sets to 2018 runner-up Marin Cilic in the third round.

Bautista Agut will face countryman Pablo Carreno Busta for a spot in the third round. The 28-year-old needed two hours and 45 minutes to move past Adrian Mannarino 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-4.

Bautista Agut leads Carreno Busta 2-1 in their ATP Head2Head series. Each of the pair’s three previous encounters went to decisive final set.

EltasZone Sportswriters, Sports Analysts, Opinion columnists, editorials and op-eds. Analysis from The Zone Team
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