Aegon Championships: Grigor Dimitrov defeats Feliciano Lopez in three tight sets
Last Updated: 15/06/14 6:16pm
Grigor Dimitrov warmed up for Wimbledon by winning the Queen's Club title with a hard-fought 6-7 (8-10) 7-6 (7-1) 7-6 (8-6) victory over Spain's Feliciano Lopez.
Dimitrov's maiden success on grass makes him the first player since Roger Federer and David Ferrer in 2012 to win titles on three different surfaces in the same year after his victories on hard courts in Acapulco and clay in Bucharest.
The Bulgarian world No 13, who was cheered on by girlfriend and French Open champion Maria Sharapova, is the first Bulgarian to win Queen's and the fourth ATP trophy of his promising career.
Highly-rated Dimitrov has long been tipped for a grand slam-winning future and victory will make him a dark horse for the title when Wimbledon gets underway later this month.
The fourth seed claimed glory and the £74,654 winner's purse, converting his second match point in the final-set tie-break.
Toledo-born Lopez had been chasing a follow up to his 2013 title at Eastbourne - one that he will defend next week, but 32-year-old was unable to deny Dimitrov.
It's been amazing coming here every year and playing that tournament means a lot to me. I'm really happy to go through that match in such a way.
Dimitrov, a former Wimbledon junior champion, was delighted with his achievement and is looking forward to taking his form into the third major of the year.
"It was amazing," Dimitrov said during the presentation of the trophy - one of the biggest in the sport.
"It's been amazing coming here every year and playing that tournament means a lot to me. I'm really happy to go through that match in such a way.
"There's some good matches ahead to Wimbledon and I'm excited for the time ahead."
Lopez claimed the first set at the fourth opportunity from the tie-break, before Dimitrov finally found some poise to save the contest.
Dimitrov's serve came under pressure in the 12th game of the second set, with Lopez claiming an advantage to have the title one point from his grasp.
Just as the 32-year-old was eyeing glory, though, Dimitrov salvaged the game and a second-set tie-break.
This time Dimitrov emerged victorious, and in defiant fashion too.
The 7-1 victory ought to have ensured a reversal of fortunes strong enough to guide the Bulgarian home; instead stubborn Lopez clung on for yet another tie-break.
The tightly-matched duo claimed one break apiece in the final set, before Dimitrov finally took control.
After wasting one match point in the tie-break Dimitrov finally claimed the title, Lopez blasting a stray forehand into the net.
Dimotrov had dispatched top-seed Stan Wawrinka in the semi-finals and will prove a popular champion in Kensington.