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Dimitrov goes down to Paire in latest Grand Slam disappointment

For the fourth Grand Slam in a row, the former world No 3 has failed to reach the third round

Grigor Dimitrov at the Australian Open 2022 Grigor Dimitrov at the Australian Open 2022 Image Credit: Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic

Australian Open 2022 | Draw Order of play | Grigor Dimitrov – Benoit Paire

At the end of the 2021 season, Grigor Dimitrov seemed to be re-discovering his groove on the court once again. The former world No 3 reached back-to-back semi-finals in San Diego and Indian Wells, beating four players ranked above him – No 24 Aslan Karatsev, No 20 Reilly Opelka, No 2 Daniil Medvedev and No 12 Hubert Kurkacz – in the span of those three weeks.

After tough early losses in Vienna and Paris to third-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas and world No 4 Alexander Zverev. Dimitrov began the season with a semi-final finish in Melbourne and spoke about how he longed to win a Grand Slam title.

That dream will have to wait a little longer as Dimitrov, seeded 26th in Melbourne, was knocked out of the second round of the Australian Open on Thursday evening by Frenchman Benoit Paire.

The defeat marked the fourth major in a row that Dimitrov has failed to reach the third round of a Major, after reaching the quarter-finals at the Australian Open 12 months ago – with two of those losses being injury-related retirements.

On Thursday, the 30-year-old Dimitrov lost his serve early on in the first and second sets on Thursday as Paire jumped to a two-sets-to-love lead. In the third set, both players stayed toe-to-toe and headed to a tiebreaker. Dimitrov won the tiebreaker to keep his chances alive.

Benoit Paire wins vs Grigor Dimitrov || 218397_0165
Benoit Paire

Paire regained the momentum by breaking early to go up 3-0 in the fourth set. After Dimitrov fought back to 3-3 once again, both players held their next few service games to take the fourth set into a tiebreaker. This time, it was Paire who emerged the winner to complete the 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 win in 3 hours and 18 minutes.

Dimitrov, a former ATP Finals champion, has reached the second week at a Major 12 times in his career . That includes a semi-final at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open and three more quarter-finals in Melbourne. Six of those 12 second weeks at Majors have come at Melbourne Park, which has by far been his most successful Grand Slam. That only makes Thursday’s loss even more disappointing.

Seeds who lost on Thursday (2nd round): Schwartzman (13), Dimitrov (26)
Seeds already out:  Hurkacz (10), Norrie (12), Basilashvili (21), Isner (22), Humbert (29), Harris (30)

Seeds who won on Thursday (2nd round): Medvedev (2), Tsitsipas (4), Rublev (5), Auger-Aliassime (9), Sinner (11), Bautista Agut (15), Fritz (20), Evans (24), Cilic (27), De Minaur (32)

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