And the Bulgarian justified Toni Nadal's concern with some flashes of brilliance as he overcame Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 in his debut match at the event on Monday.
The sixth seed got off to the ideal start, winning his opening round-robin match in the Pete Sampras Group as he was able to keep his nerves in check to beat the Austrian 6-3 5-7 7-5.
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The 26-year-old Bulgarian broke his Austrian rival three times to win the match.
"I'm not going to lie, I was pretty nervous in my first match out here", Dimitrov said.
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Instead of sending the match in the tie break, Dominic played an very bad service game to get broken again and fell 6-5 behind, hitting costly double faults to reduce his chances, and Dimitrov sealed the deal with a solid hold in game 12.
Ranked a career-high sixth in the world, Dimitrov took a break midway through the opening set and served out but Thiem levelled when his opponent wavered at the end of the second. In a tight second set, sixth seed Dimitrov earned a potentially decisive break point in the 11th game but Thiem, whose service numbers improved significantly, held firm, lashing a forehand victor down the line and edging ahead 6-5.
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The tournament debutant, who had displayed a much more rounded game with his frequent visits to the net, got to within two points of victory when serving for the match at 5-4 only for the nerves to kick in again and a missed backhand allowed Thiem a way back into the match.