Grigor Dimitrov’s rise through the ATP Tour rankings this year has put him in among the seeds for the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, but the tournament draw has also put him on course to meet world number one Novak Djokovic in the third round.
Dimitrov moved to 31st in the rankings this week, a new career best, even though he has not played since the Rotterdam Open in mid-February, when he reached the semi-final stage, losing to eventual winner Juan Manuel Del Potro in two sets.
The latest move upward has pushed Dimitrov high enough to be seeded at an ATP Masters 1000 event for the first time in his career. This carries an automatic bye for the first round, meaning that Dimitrov will lose no points this week – last year at Indian Wells, he lost to fifth-seed David Ferrer in the second round.
This year’s draw, however, was even worse for the Bulgarian, who is likely to face world number one Novak Djokovic in the third round.
The duo have met only once before, in the second round of the Shanghai Masters last year, with Djokovic winning handily (6-3, 6-2).
Bulgaria’s top female tennis player Tsvetana Pironkova, ranked 50th in the WTA Tour rankings, will play against American Christina McHale, ranked 48th, in the first round. The winner of the match will face 13th-seed Maria Kirilenko of Russia in the second round.
(Grigor Dimitrov at the 2011 Western & Southern Open. Photo: mirsasha/flickr.com)