Brisbane International, Australia
Men’s Final:  Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs.  Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)
It has been a long time coming and many may have doubted if Dimitrov (‘baby Fed”) would rediscover the form that saw him ranked in the top ten early in his career. Perhaps he was not ready to deal with all the expectations; after all, it is difficult to live up to Roger Federer’s standards. A series of inexplicable losses left his fans confused; however, Dimitrov never gave up. He changed members of his coaching team to find the right fit and it seems that he has found the right team because he is playing some of the best tennis I have seen from him in a long time.
He is happy once again on the tennis court and every tennis player knows that if you have lost your enthusiasm, it will be very difficult to perform at your best consistently enough to win titles. Dimitrov came out focused and kept Nishikori on his heels, attacking everything Nishikori sent his way. He took the first set 6-2. Then he had a mental letdown, perhaps memories of prior collapses came crashing into his head and he got distracted. Nishikori took the second set 6-2 and then had a medical timeout. All the momentum was fully on his side and Dimitrov was left to ponder what went wrong in set two, while Nishikori was off the court receiving treatment.
Dimitrov could have unraveled completely, but he did not. He refocused and did not get distracted by Nishikori’s injury. He rediscovered his form of set one and applied the pressure to his injured opponent. It paid dividends and he got the only break in the deciding set and won 6-2, 2-6, 6-3, claiming his first singles title since 2014.
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