LONDON (AP) - Grigor Dimitrov saved a match point to defeat Spanish left-hander Feliciano Lopez 6-7 (8), 7-6 (1), 7-6 (6) Sunday and win the grass court tournament at Queen’s Club, a warm-up event for Wimbledon.
The fourth-seeded Dimitrov is the first Bulgarian to lift the title, and also the first player this year to win titles on three different surfaces after claiming victories in Acapulco on hardcourt and Bucharest on clay.
At age 32, 10th-seeded Lopez was attempting to become the oldest winner of the tournament since 33-year old Tony Roche defeated John McEnroe in the 1978 final, and to win his first title since Eastbourne one year ago.
“Of course, I’m really happy with the win,” said Dimitrov. “Obviously I knew what I had to do today out on the court, and Feli is one of those competitors that when it comes to fast surfaces, he’s always very tricky to play.
“Down match point in the second set wasn’t the coolest thing, but, you know, I just fought hard. I just left everything out on the court.”
In a match that featured few rallies and even fewer break point opportunities, Dimitrov dropped only four points on serve in the first set but failed to convert two break points to lead 4-2.
Lopez went on to claim the tiebreaker on his fourth set point and games went comfortably with serve in the second set until the Spaniard held a match point on his opponent’s serve at 6-5.
Dimitrov survived that crisis and then swept the tiebreaker for the loss of just one point, but a forehand volley by Lopez gave the Spaniard a break in the opening game of the final set.
The Bulgarian got back on level terms at 4-4 when Lopez double-faulted, and claimed the tiebreaker on his second match point when Lopez netted a forehand.
“I think when you face players like Grigor, you know that even playing the way I played today there is a chance to lose because he’s a great player,” said Lopez. “He never gives up, as he showed today.
“It’s tough to lose when you play such a great match, but you have to take it the other way, no? Overall it was a great week for me. It has been a great preparation for Wimbledon, and hopefully in Eastbourne next week I can do well again.”
Dimitrov’s girlfriend, French Open champion Maria Sharapova, was among the spectators at Queen’s.