Is Dimitrov ready to take his first title?

Grigor Dimitrov working that famous backhand (thanks to

Grigor Dimitrov working that famous backhand (thanks to

This afternoon Grigor Dimitrov will play David Ferrer for the Stockholm ATP 250 title. It is the second final of the 22 year old’s career, coming after his appearance in the Brisbane final at the start of the season. The question is at the tail end of his best season yet, is he ready to take the next step and win his first title?

In the Brisbane final the Bulgarian lost to Andy Murray. But there was no shame in defeat. His career trajectory, one predicted by many to rise sharply, was going in the right direction. Losing to a Major champion on his favourite surface in your first final was a rite of passage many a predicted great has gone through.

A defeat to Benneauteau in the first round of Melbourne was no shame, either. The Frenchman, ranked a few places higher at 38 than Dimitrov is an accomplished veteran.

As the season progressed, so did Dimitrov and his defeats to the top ranked players grew closer. While there was no doubt he had the game, his inexperience accounted for his missed chances against the likes of Murray and Djokovic in the spring North American Master’s events.

Then, in the clay season, the trajectory rose sharply. In Monte Carlo, he took his second top ten scalp over Tipsarevic before losing to Nadal in three. A couple of weeks later in Madrid, he claimed his biggest win yet as he beat Novak Djokovic in three thrilling and tear-filled sets in the third round.

His progress did not peak there. At Roland Garros, he reached his furthest round in a Major by making the last 32, though he lost tamely under black clouds to Djokovic. Then he shrugged off a second round defeat 11-9 in the third to Zemlja in SW19 to make the semis in Bastaad, the quarters in Washington and the last 32 of Cincinnati where he took a set of Nadal.

While three first round defeats in New York, Beijing and Shanghai halted his progress, his run to the final in Stockholm suggest the slide was only short. Beating Paire in the semis, he recovered from a set down against a highly skilled opponent, improving his first percentage by more than 20 percent into the 70s, increasing his winners and cutting down his errors.

His final opponent, Ferrer, is the world number four and has a 3-0 head to head lead over him so a defeat will not be unexpected. But this will be very much a final pitting the older generation against the one in waiting and a victory would go some way to affirming the potential many believe Dimitrov has.

For Dimitrov, who has all the skills to beat Ferrer indoors, it is chance to make the next step and prove that the hype around the former junior number 1 and Wimbledon and US Open champ is anything but.

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Christian Deverille

Christian Deverille is a tennis writer with a diploma in Freelance Sports Writing from the London School of Journalism. He loves all things tennis, most of all the Federer and del Potro forehands.

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