The 28-year-old Bulgarian, down to No. 46 in the rankings, came into Roland Garros with a 9-8 record.

Last year, Marin Cilic and Grigor Dimitrov were the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds at Roland Garros. This year, Cilic is the No. 11 seed, while Dimitrov is ranked all the way down at No. 46.

Despite these dips, tennis fans around the world had this second-round match circled on their schedules, considering the sky-high potential both players have on any given day. On Wednesday, we got to see some of the best from both men—with Dimitrov winning in the end, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3. It’s the Bulgarian’s second win over Cilic in six tries, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Both players showed off the shots that brought them to the Top 5 in this four-hour, 23-minute second-rounder, mixing aggression with finesse in a captivating baseline battle. The opening set went Cilic’s way, after failing to serve it out but winning the tiebreak. Dimitrov answered back, taking the second. After trading sets again, it was the Bulgarian who drew first blood in the decider, breaking the Croatian in the opening game, and fending off deep and heavy balls to save three break points in the next game to consolidate. After earning an insurance break—which he would need—Dimitrov eventually clinched the contest on his fourth match point.

The hope for the 28-year-old Dimitrov is that a result like this one can begin another ascent. He came into Roland Garros off successive first-round losses in Madrid, Rome, and Geneva—he entered the Switzerland event after having to qualify. Following the Madrid loss, Dimitrov split with longtime coach Dani Vallverdu, a partnership that was formed in 2016. Under Vallverdu’s tutelage, the Bulgarian had a career-best season in 2017, where he reached a career-high No. 3 ranking, won his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati, and capped the year with the biggest title of his career at the ATP Finals.

And then came the proverbial letdown. Dimitrov failed to win a tournament in 2018, with the malaise carrying over into 2019. Coming into Roland Garros, his win-loss record was 9-8. In Rome, Dimitrov debuted his new partnership with coach Radek Stepanek, a former world No. 8. In Paris, Dimitrov avoided a near-collapse in his opener against Janko Tipsarevic, which he led by two sets and a break and held on to win in five.

As for Cilic, who joined the Grand Slam winner’s circle after capturing the 2014 US Open, he has struggled over the last few years due to injuries. He has won one tournament since his breakthrough 2014 season, although he did reach the 2017 Wimbledon final. Marred by a foot blister, he gave Roger Federer little resistance during that match; he also lost to the Swiss in a much more competitive 2018 Australian Open final, this time pushing him to five sets.

Dimitrov will next play 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka, who breezed past Cristian Garin on Wednesday. This is the third time in four majors the two will clash, with Wawrinka knocking out Dimitrov in the first round of Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018, despite returning from a knee injury. The Bulgarian will be aiming to win three successive matches for just the second time this year.

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