In one of the bigger upsets of the tennis season, Grigor Dimitrov defeated Novak Djokovic by a score of 7-6 (6), 6-7 (8), 6-3.
The top-seeded Djokovic was given a bye to the second round of the 2013 Mutua Madrid Open, but Dimitrov was more than ready for battle. The 21-year-old Bulgarian came out strong in the opening set and was obviously not intimidated by his opponent.
In the first set, each competitor had a tough time against the serve. The two battled back and forth and they only managed one break each in the 12 games.
Dimitrov then stunned the crowd by coming out on top of the tiebreak with an impressive display on long rallies.
The second set saw some better returns from both players, although the underdog still got out to a 4-2 lead.
This is where things turned, as Djokovic appeared to re-injure his ankle in the second set while going for a ball. He first suffered the injury at the Davis Cup in early April, although he participated at the Monte Carlo Masters later in the month and won the tournament by defeating Rafael Nadal in the finals.
Tennis TV posted a picture of the competitor's ankle after being taped up by trainers:
Tennis TV @TennisTV
Medical time-out for Djokovic, who may have re-injured the ankle he hurt in the Davis Cup last month http://t.co/L7jOR9JMJi5/7/2013, 7:59:28 PM
After about a 10-minute break, Djokovic returned to the action and appeared much sharper. He evened the second set and eventually won in the tiebreak.
However, Dimitrov came right back in the third thrilling set in dramatic fashion. With the victory, he moves on to the third round to face the winner of Santiago Giraldo and No. 15 Stanislas Wawrinka.
This is by far his biggest win of his young career. He had never won a tournament and advanced to the finals only once. He has defeated two top-10 ranked opponents to date, although none of the caliber of Djokovic.
By defeating the No. 1 player in the world, however, Dimitrov has put the rest of the tour on notice. If he plays like he did on Tuesday, he has the potential to beat anyone in the sport.
Of course, the current tournament features a loaded field with most of the best competitors in the world. While Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer loom on the bottom half of the bracket, he would still likely have to beat either Andy Murray or Tomas Berdych before the finals.
Still, anything is possible for this youngster after this showing in the second round.
Djokovic was trying to win his fourth tournament of the year after taking first place at Dubai, Monte Carlo and the Australian Open. He was looking for a second clay title in preparation for the upcoming French Open.
Unfortunately, he will now have to work on some things before being able to compete at a high level at Roland Garros.