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Grigor Dimitrov vs Andrey Rublev ATP Rotterdam Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Repeat of Australian Open contest as Dimitrov and Rublev meet again in Rotterdam

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 15 Feb 2018
  • Grigor Dimitrov vs Andrey Rublev is live from Rotterdam on Friday, 16 February from 2:00pm local time/ 1:00pm GMT
  • Dimitrov and Rublev are locked at 1-1 in the head-to-head
Grigor Dimitrov. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Grigor Dimitrov and Andrey Rublev should be very familiar with each other by now, as they meet for the third time since last year’s US Open when they dispute a semi-final spot in Rotterdam on Friday.

Relative to his rapid beginning in 2017, Dimitrov has made a slow start to the year, losing the Brisbane final to Nick Kyrgios (the Bulgarian was the defending champion); and falling to Kyle Edmund in the quarter finals of the Australian Open, having made the semis in the previous year. The 27-year-old then skipped his home event in Sofia because of a shoulder injury. All of that has contributed to his slight slide down the rankings, with the Bulgaria currently occupying fifth spot, two positions down from his season-opening ranking.

Dimitrov had compiled his career-best year in 2017, highlighted by success at the Nitto ATP Finals in London, a maiden Masters 1000 crown in Cincinnati, and that Australian Open semi-final.
After recovering from the injury that forced him out of Sofia, Dimitrov has put together two tough straight sets wins in Rotterdam to advance to the quarter finals for the second year running. Seeded second behind Roger Federer, he battled past the plucky Japanese, Yuichi Sugita 6-4 7-6 in the opening round, while he came through another closely-fought affair in the second round, squeezing past Filip Krajinovic 7-6 7-5. 

A tight first set yielded four break points, all of which came in a lengthy fifth game when Dimitrov served at 2-2, but the Bulgarian battled through that adversity before going on to take the set on a tie break. The second set also seemed destined for a breaker, with both players holding fairly comfortably for the first ten games, but Dimitrov struck in the eleventh game, converting a 0-40 lead at the third attempt to earn the chance to serve for the match. He closed out the contest on his first match point after an hour and 45 minutes. The world number five is still not at his best level, and could be at risk of the upset against Rublev in the quarters on Friday.

Rublev has made a consistent start to the year, as he continues his progress up the ATP ladder. The young Russian is contesting his third quarter final of the season, backing up his efforts in Pune in the opening week of the season, and in Montpellier last week. The 20-year-old went on to reach the final in Pune, where he lost to Gael Monfils. He then got to the third round of the Australian Open, but was stopped by Dimitrov in four sets. Rublev was a quarter finalist in Montpellier last week, beating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Jeremy Chardy before falling to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The Next Gen star is looking to continue from where he left off last season. Rublev had made an inconspicuous start to 2017, but he burst into life from the half-way point of the season, winning his first career title in Umag (having got into the main draw as a lucky loser!), and reaching the quarter finals of the US Open in his other marquee result from 2017.

He has made a much quicker start this season, and is closing in on his top-30 debut. The Russian scored a big win over Lucas Pouille, who was coming off a title-winning run in Montpellier, in his Rotterdam opener, before taking down Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur 6-4 7-6 in the second round. His match over Dzumhur generally ebbed and flowed, with both players combining for nine breaks of serve, but Rublev won the bigger points at the pointy end of both sets to emerge with a 6-4 7-6 victory after an hour and 47 minutes.

Dimitrov and Rublev have split their two career meetings- Rublev upsetting the Bulgarian with a stunning straight-sets win at the US Open, and Dimitrov responding with a four-set victory at the Australian Open earlier this year. 

At his best, Dimitrov’s greater variety should be too good for Rublev. He serves better, and possesses a slice backhand that should theoretically keep the ball off Rublev’s more potent forehand, but the Bulgarian has only played well in spells this year, which leaves room for a possible upset in this one.

Grigor Dimitrov vs Andrey Rublev ATP is live from Rotterdam on Friday, 16 February from 2:00pm local time/ 1:00pm GMT

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Grigor Dimitrov vs Andrey Rublev ATP Rotterdam Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Repeat of Australian Open contest as Dimitrov and Rublev meet again in Rotterdam

Grigor Dimitrov plays Andrey Rublev in the Rotterdam quarters. Can he repeat his Australian Open victory over the young Russian? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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