Ilya Ivashka disappointed the crowd at “Arena Armeec” after defeating the local hero Grigor Dimitrov in the second round of Sofia Open 2022. The Belarussian showed no fatigue after his more than three-hour marathon on Monday and won today 6:3, 7:6 (3) in 1:51 hours on the court.
Thus, Ivashka extended his ATP Head2Head series lead against the Bulgarian star to 2-1.
It was Dimitrov’s first defeat in Sofia. In his first appearance in the ATP 250 event after 2017 when the former world N3 triumphed with the trophy.
Even Dimitrov placed five aces to 3 for Ivashka, the Belarussian served better and won 63% of his 1st serve points and 53% from the second serve. Ivashka had a better return rating too. He saved all seven break points, and Dimitrov succeeded in only 5 of 7. The winner had only ten unforced errors to 19 for the Bulgarian.
“It is tough to play against Grigor, especially here. The whole arena supported him, which is normal. But the crowd was really respectful to me too”, Ivashka said after his big win.
The fans tried to urge their home hero into a deciding set, chanting “Grigor! Grigor! Grigor!” after nearly every point he won. But Ivashka held his nerve in the critical moments to move into the last eight.
“I think [holding my nerves] was the key of the match, because the tension was high,” Ivashka said. “Obviously all the fans were supporting him, so it was tough mentally, but I managed well.”
Next, in the quarter-final, the current world N71 will wait for the winner between Holger Rune (5th seed) and in-form Italian Lorenzo Sonego.