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Tennis rising star Dimitrov ready to shine
Laine Clark
20:28 AEST Sun Jan 6 2013

Being romantically linked with Maria Sharapova on Twitter may be Bulgarian rising star Grigor Dimitrov's biggest claim to date.

But the youngest player in the world's top 50 may be known for claiming a few high profile men's scalps on the tennis court by year's end judging by his impressive Brisbane International form.

Bulgaria's Dimitrov, 21, blushed on Sunday when quizzed about setting Twitter alight in recent days.

But he confidently claimed he could take on tennis elite in the big tournaments after pushing US Open champion Andy Murray in the Brisbane final before succumbing 7-6 (7-0) 6-4.

Already drawing comparisons with Roger Federer, Dimitrov showed he may bridge the gap between being called the next big thing and becoming it, sooner rather than later.

His ranking is expected to jump from No.48 to 39 after the stirring display.

Another head-turning effort at this week's Sydney International may ensure he is more known for his ability ahead of the Australian Open than those Sharapova rumours.

"This week was definitely an exciting week for me. I'm not going to hide that," he said.

"It was an amazing feeling to go out there today and be able to play tennis like that - but I'm not 100 per cent satisfied, of course."

On paper, the difference between Sunday's opponents could not have been greater despite the slender four-year age gap.

Olympic champion Murray, 25, was appearing in his 38th ATP World Tour final.

Dimitrov was in his first, attempting to become the first Bulgarian to win a tour final in the 45-year open era.

But Dimitrov said he now had the confidence to take on the game's biggest names.

"Why do I have to feel intimidated? I want to play them all," he said.

"I think it's nothing better to play against these guys and do the best you can against them because eventually, long term, if you want to be good you're going to play them almost every week."

Dimitrov downed second seed Milos Raonic, No.7 Jurgen Melzer and 2006 Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis in Brisbane - and he certainly turned Murray's head.

"Everyone will agree he played some extremely exciting tennis, it was a very tough match," Murray said.

"He's just started with a new (support) team - I'm sure they're going to do great things together."


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