Grigor Dimitrov sets up Novak Djokovic clash at Queen’s Club Championships
Second seed Grigor Dimitrov survived a tough first-round workout against Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur at the Queen’s Club championships on Tuesday to set up a second-round clash with former world number one Novak Djokovic.
The 27-year-old Bulgarian was edged out in a second-set tiebreak but eventually prevailed 6-3 6-7(4) 6-3, sealing victory with an ace.
Djokovic, playing at the prestigious London grasscourt event for the first time since 2010 after being handed a late wildcard, outclassed Australian John Millman 6-2 6-1.
The Serb has fallen to 22 in the ATP rankings after 12 months disrupted by an elbow injury, but the three-times Wimbledon champion looked sharp against qualifier Millman.
He was briefly held up when an alarm went off in the grounds but was far too good for Millman, finishing with a flourish.
“It’s one of the most beautiful courts to play on and it’s good to be back on the grass,” Djokovic said on court.
“I’ve struggled a bit in the last year and a half and that has taken a bit of confidence out of me but I’m tryimg to get that back and today was perfect.”
Dimitrov, champion in 2014, made a reasonably assured start and said he was releived to avoid having his Wimbledon preparations cut short in what was a tricky opener.
“I was a bit rusty obviously and need to brush up on a few things and come back and get a bit better,” Dimitrov said.
“I just want to play as many matches as possible on grass. It’s a tough field here and you have to be on the edge every single round.”
Third seed Kevin Anderson fell at the first hurdle, losing to Argentine Leonardo Mayer in three sets.
All eyes will be five-times champion Andy Murray later as he takes on Nick Kyrgios in his first match in almost a year.
Twice Wimbledon champion Murray, who had hip surgery in January, is not seeded having fallen to 156th in the rankings.
Canadian Milos Raonic also reached the second round after Indian opponent Yuki Bhambri retired injured.