Their head-to-head was 2-0 in Murray’s favour going into this match, with their most recent encounter was in the Brisbane final, this year, when an emotional Murray dedicated his win to Ross Hutchins, who had been diagnosed with cancer.
Both matches had been close – either a single break, or down to a tie-break, although on that occasion, Murray handed Dimitrov a master class, taking it to love.
Within the first three games, the quality of court-smarts from Dimitrov was evident, pulling Murray out wide, from side to side, and equally adept at the net.
We were also treated to Murray’s running passing shot as both hit some early impressive winners.
Only two service games in, Murray found himself facing a second break point on his serve, and first blood went to Dimitrov with a break.
No first serves, and from 40-love up Murray had two break points of his own, breaking straight back to keep things on serve.
Murray seemed to be reverting back to cautious point building, and Dimitrov took full advantage, with great court coverage to get another break, this time consolidating to lead 5-2.
Murray dug in to save a set point to stay in the match.
Suddenly the yips hit Dimitrov, serving three double faults as he had a chance to serve for the set, bringing things back on serve.
Murray had to work very hard to bring things to a tie-break and a couple of wild shots from Dimitrov handed Murray three set points – he only needed one to end a thrilling first set.
At the start of the second set, it was Dimitrov’s turn to make hard work of his first service game, saving two break points but succumbing on the third to give Murray the early break.
Frustration was setting in for the Bulgarian as he continually found the net, and Murray stepped up the aggression.
Dimitrov clawed back three break points to register another game on the board, before Murray threw in a great passing cross-court forehand just before clinching a 25 shot rally, in the next game.
Dimitrov saved two match points, earned a break point of his own, but eventually Murray took the match with the third match point.
Murray will meet Italy’s Andreas Seppi in the fourth round, and leads the Italian 4-1 in their head-to-head.
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