Grigor Dimitrov put together a show-stopping performance to comprehensively defeat to breeze past Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 6-2, 6-4 in just under an hour to emphatically book his place in the Brisbane International quarterfinals.
Dimitrov dominant in masterful first set display
The Bulgarian was already in fine form after a season-opening victory over Steve Johnson and he carried the momentum into the beginning of this match, breaking Mahut after trailing 40-15 on the Frenchman's serve. Coupling that with a quick hold, Dimitrov was flying with a 2-0 lead.
Mahut would do his best to stay within touch and he held to get on the board, but Dimitrov matched him with a quick-fire hold of his own for a 3-1 edge. The Bulgarian would show off all his skills in the next game, deft volleys netting him a second break for a comfortable 4-1 lead.
The inevitable would soon happen as the seventh seed comfortably wrapped up the opening set 6-2 courtesy of a Mahut error, the Frenchman coming to grips with the uphill task he was now facing.
Dimitrov's ground game was squeaky clean, hitting 15 winners to just two unforced errors while dominating on his serve, winning all 13 of his points on his first delivery and dropping just two on the second ball.
Dimitrov stumbles late, recovers to finish the task, move on to the quarterfinals
The second set was much closer, Mahut's shots with more stick allowing him easier service games and he was able to stay in front until the seventh game. The Frenchman's timing was suddenly off and with the slightest of openings, Dimitrov raced through, breaking for a 4-3 lead.
Another strong service game, a theme throughout the match for the Bulgarian, put him one game from victory at 5-3. Mahut wouldn't go quietly, registering a love hold of his own and forcing Dimitrov to serve it out.
Under pressure for the first time all match, the nerves appeared and it gave Mahut a 0-40 lead before Dimitrov regained his bearings and reeled off five points in a row to shut the door 6-2, 6-4 and advance to the final eight.
Key numbers: Dimitrov's serve the difference
In an impeccable display on serve, Dimitrov hit eight aces, saved all three break points against him and won 93% of his first serve points while also protecting his second serve well, winning 60% of those points. The only three chances Mahut had were in that final game and Dimitrov expertly saved all of them, the last with a searing forehand winner.
Thiem next for Dimitrov
The Bulgarian's quarterfinal opponent will be fourth seed Dominic Thiem. Thiem won his second round match 7-6 (5), 6-3 over big-serving Aussie Sam Groth. The only prior matchup between the two went the way of the Austrian 7-5, 6-2.
In fairness, Thiem was rising while Dimitrov was going through a bad patch. The form of the two could suggest a much different story on Thursday.