On the first day of the 2015 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, Grigor Dimitrov saved two match points to defeat Paul-Henri Mathieu, 4-6 7-6(2) 6-2 to set up a second round tie with Gilles Muller. Dimitrov looked to be heading out of the tournament after a sloppy start to his first rounder. Mathieu dominated the match for a set and half, going up 6-4 5-3*. Mathieu was the more consistent player with his backhand down-the-line the star of the show. Dimitrov saved two match points though with gutsy winners. Mathieu’s failure to serve out the match was more about Dimitrov playing well rather than Mathieu playing badly. At the start of the second set tiebreak, Mathieu was angered by a call, which saw a point have to be replayed. He never recovered mentally as Dimitrov gained control of the match, which rolled to an inevitable conclusion. The pair argued again at the end of the match. At the end of the day, one point doesn’t change a match and Mathieu’s inability to maintain his composure was the clincher.
In the second of the night matches on Monday, Gilles Muller beat David Goffin, 7-6(5) 6-7(6) 6-3 in two hours and 13 minutes. I watched the first set which was pretty even. Goffin started the better, but Muller grew stronger throughout the set and had a set point at 6-5* which he should have taken, only for Goffin to just catch the line with a pass. Muller served up 15 aces in the first set and finished the set with a lefty serve out wide, which frequently caused Goffin problems. The match went the distance and it was a lone break of serve from Muller in the decider that clinched it. Muller was playing some great tennis, but it was a disappointing loss for Goffin who has gone 4-4 (W-L record) at the start of this year.
Dimitrov and Muller have played just once before on the ATP tour with Dimitrov prevailing at Queens in 2012, 7-6(1) 6-4. Under the watchful gaze of coach Jamie Delgado, Muller has already had some excellent results in 2015. Last year, he won a number of Challenger events and has successfully managed to transfer that form and confidence into ATP tournaments. His serve will always be a weapon and his intent to come into the net is equally pleasing. Dimitrov will have to return much better than he did against Mathieu. I fancy another three setter for Grigor…
Prediction: Dimitrov d. Muller in 3 sets
ATP Rotterdam 2nd Round Predictions
Dominic Thiem d. Sergiy Stakhovsky in 3 sets