French Open: Viktor Troicki through to the second round, defeats Grigor Dimitrov in five sets

French Open: Viktor Troicki through to the second round, defeats Grigor Dimitrov in five sets

Viktor Troicki is in the second round in Paris after coming back from 1-2 down in sets against Grigor Dimitrov to win 2-6 ,6-3, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 in a growling match where momentum shifted from one player to another until it finally swung the Serbian way at the end of the fourth set.

Moran Noyman

Viktor Troicki was the eventual winner in the pendulum-like first round match against the Bulgarian, Grigor Dimitrov, which took place on court no. 3 on Monday afternoon. The match, that was supposed to take place Sunday but got delayed due to the heavy rain, started off with the number 36 player in the world winning the first comprehensively, 6-2, but the number 22 seed came back strong in the second and the two exchanged the next match as well. In the fifth and final set, the momentum was all with the Serbian and he clinched the win 2-6, 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3. 

Dimitrov Starts the Match Strongly; Winning the First Set 6-2

The young Bulgarian started up a storm in the first set, going up 3-0. Dimitrov had three break points in the fourth game to make it 4-0 but failed to capitalize on them and the number 22 seed held and then broke back after a sloppy service game from Dimitrov. The pendulum swung right back in the sixth game and the 25-year-old was ahead again with a break. The next two games were his too, and he wrapped the set 6-2. At the end of the day, Troicki had just too many unforced errors, 18, to only 3 winners. The young Bulgarian, on the other hand, committed only 12 and had tripled the amount of winners, nine.

Troicki Fights Back in the Second Set

Troicki was the one to start the second set better and he got up to an early lead, 2-0. Both players held to their service games and at 3-5, the 25-year-old Bulgarian found himself serving to stay in the set. An error-filled game by him gave the Serbian the ninth game and the second set and the match was leveled, 1-1 in sets. In this set, the difference between the two players and what won the number 22 seed the set was the number of break point opportunities created and capitalizing on them. Troicki had four and capitalized on two while Dimitrov got only two and capitalized on one.  

Dimitrov Comes Back in the Third Set

The third set started in the same manner as the first set and at the end of a long first game, Dimitrov broke Troicki's serve with style, winning it with a beautiful forehand winner. He then held on to his own serve and made it 2-0. Both players held on to their next services games until it was 4-3 and then Troicki was gifted the break back by the Bulgarian who committed a double-fault and a few other unforced errors. Troicki consolidated his break and the lead was now his, 5-4. Dimitrov, who was just a few minutes ago ahead 4-3 in the set, found himself battling to stay in it.  Never the less, he accepted the challenge and held easily, to 15.

Both players were giving it their all at this stage of the match, knowing a 2-1 lead in sets is crucial. The Serbian was the first to crack and gave his younger opponent a chance to serve out the set, one he took with both hands. This set saw both players, who were going for the lines in almost every point, committing many unforced errors (21 from Dimitrov and 18 from Troicki) and playing well below their ability but the Bulgarian managed to reach more break points and take them, consolidating two of three versus only one of two for the Serbian.

Troicki Doesn't Give Up and Levels the Match in the 4th set

 In the 4th set, the momentum stayed with Dimitrov who broke right at the beginning of the set after a mixture of great winners from him and unforced errors from Troicki. He consolidated his break in the next game and went 2-0 up. The next 5 games were won by the server and it seemed at 4-3, that the winner would be the young Bulgarian, but Troicki managed to break in the 8th game and then held to make it 5-4. The players each won their next service game and at 5-6, Dimitrov failed in his quest to make it into a tie-breaker and the Serbian clinched it 7-5. 

Troicki Wins the Decisive 5th Set Comprehensively

In the deciding set, Troicki had all the momentum on his side and used it to go up 3-0. Dimitrov handed him the lead with countless unforced errors. The young Dimitrov had chances to come back to the set but Troicki held his ground and sealed the victory, 6-3. The Dimitrov was lacking energy and real conviction in the final set and committed too many unforced errors, handing the Serbian the win, 2-6, 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 in 3 hours and 45 minutes.

In the second round of the French Open, he will meet his compatriot Dusan Lajovic who beat Denis Kudla 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. 

Viktor Troicki from Serbia was just too strong in the end for the young Bulgarian and he proceeds to the second round  (where he will face his compatriot, Dusan Lajovic (Credit: Clive Brunskill; getty images.
Viktor Troicki from Serbia was just too strong in the end for the young Bulgarian and he proceeds to the second round (where he will face his compatriot, Dusan Lajovic (Credit: Clive Brunskill; getty images.

A Look at the Final Match Statistics

Overall, the stats show the match was very even, as the result itself shows. Both players had seven aces to their names but Troicki served a bit better and had 67 percent 1st serve points won as opposed to only 62 percent from Dimitrov. In a match full of unforced errors, the winner, maybe surprisingly, had the worse ratio of winners to unforced errors, -45 (Dimitrov's was -36). The break point conversion ratio was similar as well, 7 of 12 for the Serbian versus 6 of 17 for the Bulgarian. At the end of the day, only a few points separated the winner from the loser and Troicki was the one on the winning side.