• Dimitrov battles Baghdatis in Rome first round

    5/12/13 7:12 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Dimitrov battles Baghdatis in Rome first round Familiar foes--of the friendly variety--Grigor Dimitrov and Marcos Baghdatis will meet again on Sunday in Rome. Dimitrov hopes to keep up a hot streak whereas Baghdatis is ice cold.

    Grigor Dimitrov and Marcos Baghdatis will be squaring off for the fifth time in their careers and for the third time this season when they collide in round one of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Sunday. Dimitrov leads the head-to-head series 3-1, including 1-0 on clay (via a 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-2 decision at the 2011 Munich tournament). The 21-year-old Bulgarian has won both of their 2013 encounters; 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5) in the Brisbane semifinals and 6-7(4), 7-6(0), 6-3 in the Rotterdam quarters.

    Dimitrov cooled off just a bit following his hot start to the 2013 campaign, but he is back in fine form. The world No. 28 upset Novak Djokovic 7-6(6), 6-7(8), 6-3 before losing to eventual finalist Stanislas Wawrinka in the third round. Dimitrov also reached the quarterfinals last month in Monte-Carlo and his season record stands at 16-10.

    Baghdatis, on the other hand, is in the midst of a massive slump. In fact, the 38th-ranked Cypriot has not won a single ATP tournament match since he faced Dimitrov in Rotterdam--and that was in mid-February. Not counting a lower-level Davis Cup win over someone named Theophile Segodo from Benin, Baghdatis has lost six matches in a row after succumbing to Tommy Robredo 6-4, 6-2 in the Madrid first round.

    Nothing other than their relatively similarly rankings suggests Baghdatis will be able to make this one particularly competitive. He has zero confidence at the moment whereas Dimitrov is sky-high, both on and off the court. Count on Dimitrov getting the job done in straight sets.

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