Grigor Dimitrov is expected to return to defend his title at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in 2015.
The tournament played in Acapulco each February is one of eleven ATP World Tour 500 series tournaments. Over the years it has become a favourite amongst many top players with Acapulco winning the ATP World Tour award for the best tournament of the year in its category in 2007.
The 21st edition of the ATP Acapulco was played in 2014 and it marked the first year the event was played on blue hard courts after 20 years on clay.
World No. 16 Grigor Dimitrov won the title, as he overcame South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in the final. But it took him almost three hours to ultimately clinch the victory 7-6 (1), 3-6, 7-6(5) over the fifth seeded Anderson.
"Belief is the only thing that kept me going today," Dimitrov said after donning the champion’s sombrero.
The fourth seed survived 13 aces and 46 winners from the gritty Anderson, but benefited from seven double faults and 52 unforced errors from the South African. It was Anderson’s second final in two weeks after he fell to Marin Cilic in Delray Beach.
“I enjoyed the week. There are a lot of positives, but it's difficult. I'm going to have to move on and take positives and take belief, because you can get down or get even more motivated...I had my chances, I just didn't execute them,” an understandably disappointed Anderson said.
However it was no easy feat for Dimitrov, who had to face many challenging opponents en route to obtaining the championship. He overcame Australia’s Marinko Matosevic 7-5, 6-1 and former World No. 8 Marcos Baghdatis 6-1, 6-4 in the first and second rounds respectively.
It only got tougher for Dimitrov who faced Ernests Gulbis, his successor in Rotterdam two weeks prior, in the quarterfinals. Gulbis looked to have the match under wraps and was set for another straight sets victory over the top ranked Bulgarian, but he fell to pieces mentally and Dimitrov capitalised to triumph 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-5.
In another thrilling three set battle in the semis, Dimitrov knocked out second seed Andy Murray to set up his final against Anderson. After he dropped the first set 4-6 to Murray, Dimitrov stole the next two and consequently the match in two close tiebreak sets but it did not finish until 2:30am the night before the final.
"I didn't think I was going to come back after last night's match. I'm really happy. This title means a lot to me. Every match I played was really tough, especially the last three where I played three sets,” Dimitrov said.
Anderson fought hard in the final but it wasn’t enough to overcome the marginally higher ranked 22-year-old. Dimitrov stole the first set in a tiebreaker 7-1 but Anderson refused to settle for a straight set loss. The momentum changed as the South African raced to a 3-0 lead in the second before claiming the set 6-3 and thereby pushing the final to a decider.
Anderson seized the crucial break in the third, but he was let down by his double faults as Dimitrov was handed the break back in the eighth game. The current World No. 16 returned to his rhythm as he fought back to push the set to another tiebreaker. Once again, it was Anderson who had the mini break but he pushed a backhand long at 5-5 gifting Dimitrov his first match point. The Bulgarian was able to capitalise on his first opportunity to win his second career title.
The win boosted Dimitrov to a career high ranking of World No. 16 whilst he also took home $316, 400. In the tournament that offered $1, 309, 770 of prize money, Anderson also collected $142, 650 and 300 Emirates ATP Rankings points to ascend to World No. 17; his highest ranking to date.
Organisers anticipate the return of Dimitrov to Fairmont Acapulco Princess tennis centre in 2015 to defend his title.
The ATP Abierto Mexicano Telcel will take place between 23 February – 2 March 2014.