Australian Open 2018: Grigor Dimitrov says newfound ability to change gears will propel him further in tournament

Melbourne: Grigor Dimitrov says his ability to change gears in his crunch win over Nick Kyrgios has given him the impetus to go even further at this year's Australian Open.

The Bulgarian World No 3 admits he was struggling in the early rounds but he was outstanding in a high-quality four-set win over the mercurial Australian before a roaring full house on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday.

Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov celebrates after defeating Australia's Nick Kyrgios during his fourth round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Grigor Dimitrov celebrates after defeating Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round. AP

Dimitrov, yet to go beyond the semi-finals at a Grand Slam, has a quarter-final with British 49th-ranked Kyle Edmund on Tuesday and a potential semi-final with 16-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal.

He said what came out of his high-pressure win over Kyrgios was his ability to up gears through a major tournament.

"I learned that I can switch to another gear when I really need it," Dimitrov said. "I think this is something that I have been obviously struggling with in this tournament.

"The first three rounds I was not striking the ball well. I know that, but I was still clutch (able to succeed) in the important moments, which was good."

Dimitrov, under Andy Murray's former coach Dani Vallverdu, said he was able to raise his level against the unpredictable Kyrgios.

"I was just able to lift my game completely, having a high percentage in the first serve, high percentage on the return, counting a little bit more on my strongest weapons," he said. "That was a good step forward for me."

Dimitrov lost to Nadal over five sets in last year's semi-final and he is heading in the same direction again this year.

"You're entering a stage of a tournament where all these matches matter a lot more to all of us," he said.

"I think especially when you have a long tournament, it's important after certain rounds to reassess your game a little bit.

"You reassess your behaviour and kind of find a way to do something better, to change something in order for you to be better."

Dimitrov said he now planned to just "live in the moment".

"You never know how many times you're going to be able to come out on Rod Laver Arena and just play," he said. "That itself gives me the motivation and that kind of kick, hey, man, like, you're here now. Just play."


Updated Date: Jan 22, 2018 10:07 AM

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