Grigor Dimitrov is enjoying the best year of his tennis career and it got even better Sunday.
The 26-year-old Bulgarian claimed his biggest victory by winning the Western & Southern Open men’s title, downing Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 7-5 in the final in Mason, Ohio near Cincinnati.
The championship was Dimitrov’s third this season on the ATP World Tour, matching a career best when he won three times in 2014.
“I’m just happy. There’s nothing else I can say, honestly,” Dimitrov said. “I’m just happy and I’m humbled to have that trophy in my hands, and especially to win here. It’s just amazing.
“I always like this tournament. I have played it quite a few times and always thought this can be maybe one of the first ones, and it is the first one.”
Dimitrov’s success has come mostly on hard courts like in the Cincinnati event. He reached the semifinals at the Australian Open in January and won tournaments in Brisbane and Sofia.
Now he’s aiming to continue his run in a much-bigger hard-court event, the U.S. Open.
“Going to the Open, it’s for sure a lot of positivity with it,” Dimitrov said. “But the most important thing now is just to stay grounded, keep on doing the same work, believe in myself, and just prepare the best way that I can.”
Dimitrov dominated in Cincinnati. He never lost a set in the tournament and won 52 of 53 service games.
The seventh-seeded Dimitrov pressured Kyrgios into 31 unforced errors by doggedly pursuing the big-hitting Aussie’s forehands and backhands. Dimitrov also capitalized on two of his four break chances in the first set and fought off two attempts by Kyrgios to break him.
“It came down to a few points I could have done better than him, and I was just able to hold my nerves,” Dimitrov said.
With Kyrgios serving while trailing 6-5 in the second set, Dimitrov finished with a break to close out the match in a tournament that was missing Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and defending champion Marin Cilic because of injuries.
Kyrgios failed to convert his only two break opportunities in the one-hour, 25-minute match. But he was pleased with the week after battling a summer hip injury that forced him out at Wimbledon last month.
“Where I was three weeks ago — it wasn’t good at all — and now I’m in a Masters final,” Kyrgios said. “That’s a very Nick Kyrgios thing to do. I don’t know. It’s crazy.