Melbourne – Grigor Dimitrov’s rejuvenation under the wing of Andre Agassi continued apace on Friday as he powered into the last 16 of the Australian Open with a straight-sets win over Italian Thomas Fabbiano.
The 27-year-old Bulgarian won 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-4 in just over two hours under the roof at Melbourne Arena to stay on course for a potential quarter-final against second seed Rafael Nadal.
Before that can happen, the 20th seed’s resurgence will need to continue against an unseeded player – either American Frances Tiafoe or veteran Italian Andreas Seppi – in the fourth round.
“Different conditions, I love when the roof is closed,” said Dimitrov, who reached the semi-finals at Melbourne Park two years ago.
“I was just very happy I was going to play a match today, with the weather.”
Dimitrov, who was tumbling down the rankings before adding Agassi to his team in October, played sparkling tennis at times reminiscent of 2017 when he reached career-high ranking of three.
The world number 21 gave the credit to his coaching team, led by Dani Vallverdu who formerly coached Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych.
But he singled out Agassi for the highest praise.
“Just him sitting out there, watching my match, just giving me his time is the most valuable thing on earth to me,” he said of the man who won eight Grand Slams – four of them coming at the Australian Open.
“It’s such a warm welcome when I come to Australia. I love playing out here,” added Dimitrov.
“Hopefully my game gets better. Solid win in straight sets today. Moving on.”