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Dimitrov emerges from slump to knock out Simon

Britain Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon, England - 30/6/16 France's Gilles Simon in action against Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov REUTERS/Tony O'Brien
Britain Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon, England - 30/6/16 France's Gilles Simon in action against Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov REUTERS/Tony O'Brien

By Clare Lovell

LONDON (Reuters) - Grigor Dimitrov announced his return to form on Thursday, putting out 16th seed Gilles Simon 6-3 7-6(1) 3-6 6-4 with an exhibition of power, speed and deft touch in the second round at Wimbledon.

The 25-year-old Bulgarian has suffered a slump since he reached a career-high ranking of nine in 2014, the year he beat defending champion Andy Murray to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals.

But now ranked 37th, his opponents knew that he was the dangerous floater in the draw and so it proved for Simon, who has a fine record on grass, having beaten Dimitrov in their last two matches on the surface. He led the Bulgarian 5-1 head-to head going into the match.

It was not all plain sailing for the inconsistent Dimitrov, who after allowing Simon only one point in the second-set tiebreak struggled again to keep his mind on the match.

"I lost my focus a little bit," he said. "All of a sudden I got drawn into his rhythm... he's a pretty mellow fellow...

"I'm just glad I got it back."

Dimitrov was dubbed "Baby Fed" when he came on to the circuit because of his all-round skill and easy-on-the-eye athleticism.

After losing the third set and going a break down in the fourth, however, it took him until the eighth game to regain the steely mindset enjoyed by seven-times champion Roger Federer.

Ramping up the pressure and finding that extra measure of creativity, he broke Simon's served twice in a row to win the match that had started on Wednesday evening.

He meets Steve Johnson of the United States in the third round.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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