Grigor Dimitrov conquered his only Masters 1000 title on August 20, 2017, in Cincinnati! Like in good old times, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal grabbed the first four Masters 1000 titles of the season for the first time since 2006.
Alexander Zverev stepped in and lifted trophies in Rome and Montreal. Cincinnati was a perfect chance for most players to lift the first Masters 1000 trophy. Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka withdrew due to injuries, leaving the draw with only three top-10 stars.
Rafael Nadal has never enjoyed Cincinnati's conditions that much despite going all the way in 2013. He suffered a heavy quarter-final loss to Nick Kyrgios, offering a chance for others to seek a notable title and 1000 ATP points.
The only remaining Masters 1000 champion, David Ferrer, lost in the semi-final to Kyrgios in two tie breaks. It meant there were two first-time Masters 1000 finalists for the first time since Toronto 2002 when Andy Roddick and Guillermo Canas played for the title!
In the first title match at this level with players born in the 1990s, Grigor Dimitrov took down Nick Kyrgios to clinch the most significant crown in a career, finally delivering something expected from him years ago. Grigor was the 7th seed and did not face a top-15 player en route to the title, standing as one of the favorites after reaching the semi-final 12 months ago.
The Bulgarian faced 12 break chances in five encounters, fending off 11 and losing serve only once against Juan Martin del Potro in the third round. It was an impressive week for the 26-year-old under Daniel Vallverdu. Daniel helped Grigor find the form right at the start of the season (16-1 mark) and go all the way to become a Masters 1000 champion.
Grigor Dimitrov won the 2017 Cincinnati title without dropping a set.
In the title encounter, one of the most important for both players, Dimitrov outplayed Kyrgios 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 25 minutes, emerging as a winner in almost every segment for a rock-solid triumph.
The Aussie was impressive in his win over Nadal, but he showed virtually nothing outside serve in the final. Grigor had the upper hand in the rallies after implementing smart and well-measured tennis, preparing the perfect tactics with Vallvedru to tame Nick's strokes and expose his weaker sides.
Grigor served at 56%, but his initial shot did not let him down. He lost only 13 points in 11 service games, saving those two break chances to keep them intact. On the other hand, Dimitrov had a clear advantage on Kyrgios' second serve, taking ten out of 18 points and creating four break chances, converting one in each set for a comfortable win.
The Bulgarian's defense was also one of the key elements in his success. He moved around the court exceptionally and slid to reach the ball in Novak Djokovic's style, constantly pushing Nick to play an extra shot. Grigor had more chances to take the point after a superior display in the more extended exchanges with each additional stroke.
He won 15 out of 16 longest points, which made a huge difference. Dimitrov built an 18-12 advantage in the mid-range rallies, taking 33 out of 46 most extended points to indicate how well he covered the court and controlled his strokes.
Thanks to many service winners, Nick had a 39-34 advantage in the shortest points up to four shots, but that was far from enough to make an impact and give him a more favorable result. The essential stroke of the final was Dimitrov's slice backhand.
It took the pace away from the ball and kept Kyrgios playing from the awkward, error-prone positions. Grigor took power out from his strokes, hitting with an average speed of 66 mp/h. On the other hand, Nick could only do a little with those shots, never finding the right rhythm and making a ton of mistakes.
The Aussie fired 28 service winners in 52 points he claimed, which illustrated how inferior he was once the rally unfolded. Grigor added 19 service winners and had a clear 13-5 advantage in the winners from the field. Kyrgios placed 16 direct points from the court against Nadal.
However, his powerful hitting was not there in the final, finishing the match with miserable three forehand winners. The Bulgarian kept his shots tamed, spraying only ten unforced errors while Kyrgios counted 25, missing equally from both wings.
The number of forced mistakes and double faults was similar for both. It could not make a difference on the court, highlighting Kyrgios' unforced errors that determined the winner, as Grigor knew how to attract them.