Dimitrov Battles Past Verdasco

Ninth seed Grigor Dimitrov battled into the second round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Tuesday, beating Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 27 minutes.

The Bulgarian claimed his 10th win of the season as he saved 15 of the 17 break points he faced in his third meeting with Verdasco. He goes on to face Fabio Fognini, whom he has split his two previous clashes with.

“It’s never easy, especially first match, having an opponent like that,” said Dimitrov. “Verdasco is known for his strength, especially on a clay court. I’m really happy with that win because it shows that I’ve done something right the days coming into the tournament. It’s a positive thing for me for the next one. Right after Miami, I started hitting on clay. I knew I had a good preparation, I could count on my legs, the strategy I was picking.”

The 23-year-old Dimitrov is looking to regain top form after failing to win back-to-back matches in his past four tournaments. He was a quarter-finalist at the Monte-Carlo Country Club in 2013 (l. to Nadal).

In a second-round contest between two players on the comeback from injury, eighth seed Marin Cilic held off Florian Mayer for a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory. The Croat, who is coached by Goran Ivanisevic, won 75 per cent of his first service points and broke serve three times to prevail in one hour and 40 minutes.

The 26-year-old Cilic has played just one match this season, due to a shoulder injury that has hampered him since the end of 2014. The right-hander won his maiden Grand Slam championship at the US Open last year (d. Nishikori).

Viktor Troicki set a second-round clash with 15th seed John Isner after beating Martin Klizan 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-2 in two hours and 36 minutes.

Fifth seed David Ferrer advanced to the third round when his opponent, Victor Estrella Burgos, was forced to retire. Ferrer was leading 6-2, 2-0.

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