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Dimitrov vs Mischa Zverev ATP Cincinnati Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Dimitrov begins title defence against Zverev

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 15 Aug 2018
  • Grigor Dimitrov vs Mischa Zverev is live from Cincinnati on Wednesday, 15 August from 2:30pm local time/ 7:30pm BST
  • Dimitrov leads 3-0 on head-to-head
Grigor Dimitrov. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Grigor Dimitrov begins his Cincinnati title defence on Wednesday when he takes on Germany’s Mischa Zverev in the second round.

Dimitrov defeated Nick Kyrgios in last year’s final to claim his maiden Masters 1000 crown, and a few months later, he picked up the Nitto ATP Finals title to cap a very good year which also included titles in Brisbane and Sofia, and an Australian Open semi-final. The Bulgarian ended last season at a career-high No. 3 in the world, but he has not been able to consistently replicate those performances in 2018. The 27-year-old is still awaiting his first title of the season, with the closest he has come being a runner-up finish in Rotterdam, where he was blown away by Roger Federer.

Apart from that, he also made the semi-finals in Monte Carlo and Brisbane, and the quarter finals at the Australian Open, Barcelona and Toronto. That has basically been it as far as noteworthy results for the season are concerned. Amongst his least impressive results were opening round defeats at Rome, Madrid, Indian Wells, Dubai, and Wimbledon, where he fell to a struggling Stan Wawrinka.

Dimitrov rebounded from that Wimbledon ouster to battle into the last eight in Toronto- his first quarter final in six tournaments. There, he got through successive third-set tie breaks against Fernando Verdasco and Frances Tiafoe, but eventually came unstuck against Wimbledon finalist, Kevin Anderson, who brushed aside the Bulgarian 6-2 6-2.

Despite a below par season, Dimitrov has managed to hang on to his top five ranking, but with all of 1000 points to defend at the Western and Southern Open, he needs a big week in Cincinnati, and it begins for him on Wednesday with a second-round meeting with Mischa Zverev.

Zverev is coming off an impressive 6-3 6-4 victory over Damir Dzumhur in his tournament opener. The German was quick out of the blocks, breaking Dzumhur in his opening service game to open up a 3-0 lead, an advantage he maintained for the rest of the first set. 

Mischa Zverev. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Roles were reversed at the start of the second set as Dzumhur broke for the 2-0 lead, but unlike Zverev, the Bosnian could not consolidate the break, giving up his serve in the very next game. The impressive Zverev got the decisive break in seventh game, before going on to serve out just his second ever win in Cincinnati.

With the exception of one outstanding result in Eastbourne, where Zverev claimed his first career title, the left-hander has endured an ordinary season, littered with early losses and a sprinkling of consecutive wins. After a career-best 2017, during which he peaked at 25th in the world rankings, Zverev never got going in the opening weeks of the 2018 campaign. He won his first match of the year, against John-Patrick Smith in Brisbane, but that was followed by five straight defeats. The German did not win consecutive matches until Monte Carlo, where he got to the third round, a feat he also repeated at Roland Garros few weeks down the line. 

The server-and-volleyer found joy on the grass of Eastbourne, beating Nicolas Jarry, Steve Johnson, Denis Shapovalov, Mikhail Kukushkin and Lukas Lacko to claim his first career title. 

He could not translate that form into Wimbledon as he lost to Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the first round. That has since been followed by an opening round in Newport, a quarter final in Atlanta, and a second round loss to Alexander Zverev in Washington. 

After taking out Dzumhur in his tournament opener, Zverev attempts to score a first ever victory over Dimitrov as they meet for the fourth time on Wednesday. 

All three previous matches were on hard courts, and all in 2017. Dimitrov won all three, but the good news for Zverev is that two of the three matches went the distance, meaning he was at least competitive. 

With Dimitrov not playing his best, this represents an opportunity for Zverev. He won't beat Dimitrov off the ground, hence the need to serve very well, and come forward, which is what he does anyway. 

Dimitrov should naturally be too strong for Zverev, but the world number five has suffered too many bad losses this season that you can't help but feel Zverev has got an opening here. 

Grigor Dimitrov vs Mischa Zverev is live from Cincinnati on Wednesday, 15 August from 2:30pm local time/ 7:30pm BST

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Dimitrov vs Mischa Zverev ATP Cincinnati Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Dimitrov begins title defence against Zverev

Grigor Dimitrov begins his Cincinnati title defence against Mischa Zverev on Wednesday. How will the Bulgarian fare in Cincinnati? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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