Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov edged out South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 7-6 (7/1), 3-6, 7-6 (7/5) in a three-hour slugfest to claim his second career title with victory in the Acapulco International final yesterday.
The 22-year-old, who won the Stockholm Open in October last year for his first title victory, claimed the first-set in a tiebreak, but Anderson broke in the second game of the next and comfortably held serve to level the match.
Anderson carried the momentum into the third with another early break, but handed back the initiative with a double fault on break point in the eighth game of the deciding set.
Dimitrov, who beat Wimbledon champion Andy Murray in the semi-finals, held on to take the decider into a tiebreak and completed the victory on his first match point to improve his head-to-head record against the South African to 4-1.
“Belief! That was the only thing that kept me [going] today. I didn’t think I was gonna come back after last night’s match. I felt really bad after the match,” Dimitrov told reporters, referring to his semi-final win that finished after 2:30am on Saturday.
It was a second heartbreaking loss in as many weeks for Anderson, who lost to Marin Cilic in the Delray Beach Open final on Sunday last week.
“It’s really disappointing ... to come so close. It was possibly a match where I felt I was going to get it,” Anderson told reporters. “I’m going to have to move on, need to take positives and take belief.”
In the women’s tournament played at the same venue, top-seeded Dominika Cibulkova battled past US Christina McHale 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-4 to win her fourth career title.
The victory should move Cibulkova a place higher to No. 11 in the world rankings.