ATP Brisbane: Grigor Dimitrov claims title with three-set win over Kei Nishikori

ATP Brisbane: Grigor Dimitrov claims title with three-set win over Kei Nishikori

The Bulgarian beat his Japanese rival for the first time ever to claim his fifth career title.

John Lupo

Seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov notched his first title since 2014 with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 victory over third seed Kei Nishikori in the final of the Brisbane International to get his 2017 off to a bright start.

Dimitrov dazzles to take opening set with late run

Fans were treated to some scintillating rallies early on. Nishikori created break chances in the first couple of Dimitrov service game, but the Bulgarian did well to save them. At 2-2, the 2014 Wimbledon semifinalist was about to make his move.

After a comfortable hold, Dimitrov achieved the first break of the match when Nishikori netted a crosscourt backhand, giving him a 4-2 lead. His lead was increased to 5-2 with another hold and he clinched the set on a Nishikori forehand error to emphatically jump in front.

Nishikori regroups to take the second set, force decider

The momentum stayed with Dimitrov has held to open the second set. Nishikori was keeping pace and the two traded holds until the fifth game which, like the first set, proved to be the crucial moment in the set.

At 0-40, Nishikori broke on a Dimitrov forehand well off target and the 2014 U.S. Open finalist was in the lead for the first time in the match. Another forehand miss gave the Japanese superstar a second break and he took the set at the first time of asking to force a deciding third set.

Dimitrov takes third set in resounding fashion to clinch championship

Dimitrov's aggressiveness re-appeared in the final set and it nearly paid off as he held a break point at 30-40 in the second game, but Nishikori saved it to keep the set on serve. 

At 3-3, Dimitrov took a nasty fall, but got up with seemingly no issues and he held without much fuss or bother and then the decisive moment came: a backhand miss and extra power on the Bulgarian's shots combined to give him a 5-3 lead. He served out the title with ease and took home his fifth ATP Tour trophy.