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Dimitrov vs Djokovic ATP Cincinnati live streaming, preview and predictions - Djokovic leads by a break in the third set as play resumes on Friday

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 17 Aug 2018
  • Novak Djokovic vs Grigor Dimitrov resumes live from Cincinnati around 12.30pm local time on Friday (5.30pm BST)
  • Djokovic has won seven of their eight previous encounters
Novak Djokovic (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic and Grigor Dimitrov will resume their Cincinnati Masters Round of 16 showdown on Friday with the Wimbledon champion leading 2-6 6-3 2-1.

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For the second match on the trot, Djokovic started slow and wasn’t himself in the opening set - and defending Cincinnati champion Dimitrov made him may, producing some of the best tennis of what has been an extremely underwhelming season for the Bulgarian to break the Serbian twice and close it out 6-2.

Dimitrov also claimed an early break in the second set to gain control of the contest, but Djokovic started to work his way back into the match, gradually coming out on top of more baseline exchanges - and after he broke Dimitrov for the first time the entire momentum of the match swung in his favour, with the 13-time major champion reeling off five games on the bounce as he levelled the match, taking the second set 6-3. After an almost-two hour rain delay, Djokovic immediately grabbed a break in the deciding set, but heavy rain forced play to be suspended for the night with Djokovic ahead 2-6 6-3 *2-1.

Pre-match Preview

Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic targets his sixth straight victory over Grigor Dimitrov when the pair clash for a place in the Cincinnati Masters quarter-finals on Thursday.

Ever since securing the 2013 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters title, Djokovic has had the opportunity to become the first man in history to win all nine Masters 1000 crowns, but he’s come up agonisingly short multiple times in Cincinnati throughout his career. Indeed, Djokovic has reached the Western & Southern Open final on five different occasions, but he’s been thwarted by Roger Federer three times and Andy Murray twice. Murray is out of the tournament, but Federer remains - could we be on course for another historic encounter between the two legends in Cincinnati?

After shutting down his 2017 season with a wrist injury following Wimbledon, Djokovic returned at the start of 2018 and was shaky as he went 6-6 across his first few tournaments. However, the former World No. 1 has been on a roll for the last couple of months, winning 22 of his last 26 matches, including reaching the semi-finals of Rome, the quarter-finals of Roland Garros, the final of Queen’s Club and of course winning his 13th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, where he beat Rafael Nadal in a five-set epic in the semi-finals before taking down Kevin Anderson in straight sets in the final.

Stefanos Tsitsipas stunned the 13-time Grand Slam champion in the third round of the Rogers Cup in Toronto last week, but Djokovic has bounced back to reach the Round of 16 here in Cincinnati - although he’s been far from his best, battling to a 6-4 7-6(4) win over Steve Johnson in the opening round before coming from a set down and fighting off a stomach illness to beat Adrian Mannarino 4-6 6-2 6-1 in the second round on Wednesday.

"I really want to win this tournament, and I have been trying. I'm still in the tournament this year, and hopefully I can get a shot at the title.
“But I need to definitely play better than I have in the first couple matches. I have been training a lot and trying to find the game and the level of tennis that I want to be on. I am motivated to get far in this tournament, without a doubt.”

Next up for Djokovic on Thursday is the defending Cincinnati Masters champion.

Grigor Dimitrov (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
However, Grigor Dimitrov has been well below par for basically the entire year. After compiling the best season of his career in 2017, culminating with the Nitto ATP Finals silverware in London after earlier triumphs in Brisbane, Sofia and here at the Cincinnati Masters where he won his first Masters 1000 title, Dimitrov began 2018 as the No. 3 in the world and seemingly ready to take that next step in his career and challenge for Grand Slam titles.

But that hasn’t come close to eventuating, with Dimitrov currently an underwhelming 22-14 for the season. The year started solidly enough with a semi-final in Brisbane, a quarter-final at the Australian Open and a runner-up finish to Roger Federer in Rotterdam, but Dimitrov lost three of his next four matches, and while he made the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo and the quarter-finals in Barcelona, the Bulgarian has failed to make an impact since, losing early at the French Open and Wimbledon, while he was eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup 2-6 2-6 by Kevin Anderson last week.

Dimitrov wasn’t entirely convincing in his Cincinnati Masters opener on Wednesday either, sneaking past the serve-and-volley Mischa Zverev 7-6(5) 7-5.

At the moment, there’s no indication that Dimitrov is ready to take a big scalp - and Djokovic certainly constitutes that. The Serbian may not be playing his best tennis at the moment, but I believe he can find a level high enough to deal with Dimitrov - or failing that, find a way to win without playing his best in a more effective manner. Dimitrov always fights on the court, but for whatever reason, something’s missing right now. And it’s unlikely he finds ‘it’ in time for Djokovic on Thursday.

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Dimitrov vs Djokovic ATP Cincinnati live streaming, preview and predictions - Djokovic leads by a break in the third set as play resumes on Friday

Novak Djokovic and Grigor Dimitrov will resume their Cincinnati Masters Round of 16 showdown on Friday with the Wimbledon champion leading 2-6 6-3 2-1.

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