Grigor Dimitrov played with confidence on Wednesday to book a spot in the Roland Garros third round for the first time since 2013 (l. to Djokovic). The Bulgarian No. 11 seed avenged last month’s Grand Prix Hassan II loss to former World No. 5 Tommy Robredo with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 second-round win in two hours and 13 minutes.

“I think it was a better match today than the first one [against Stephane Robert],” said Dimitrov. “There were a lot of positive things. I still believe that I can do a few things better… We all know how Robredo can compete. [I’m] pleased with my game and looking forward to what’s ahead right now.”

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Dimitrov lost just nine of his first service points and struck 43 winners against five-time Roland Garros quarter-finalist Robredo. He is now 2-3 lifetime in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against No. 274-ranked Robredo, who’d won their previous two clay matches (2013-Barcelona, 2017-Marrakech).

The Bulgarian also improved to a 20-8 record on the season, which includes two ATP World Tour titles at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp (d. Nishikori) and the Garanti Koza Sofia Open (d. Goffin). He is currently in ninth place in the Emirates ATP Race to London as he pursues a place in the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time.

“It took me quite a few years to get to the level that I am, and now it’s just all about my next step,” said Dimitrov. “And I think I’m on the right path now.”

Dimitrov next faces Spanish No. 20 seed Pablo Carreno Busta, the Millennium Estoril Open champion, who hit 66 winners, including 15 aces, during a 7-5, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 victory against Taro Daniel of Japan.  

“I think I’ve proven to myself that I can play good on pretty much all the surfaces,” said Dimitrov. “And I had good success on clay, as well, beating good players. Whoever I have to face, I’m pretty excited to play. I think this is the best thing when you come on the court and you feel happy and excited to compete. This is also where the character comes in.”

Carreno Busta celebrated his 100th tour-level match victory. “Of course I’m very happy to have reached 100 wins. I don’t think that everybody can do this. A lot of players, of course, but not all of the players,” Carreno Busta said. “I hope I have many wins to come.”

Elsewhere, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, the Spanish No. 19 seed, required 84 minutes to defeat French wild card Benjamin Bonzi 6-2, 6-1, 6-1. Ramos-Vinolas has only once lost to a player ranked as low as No. 266-ranked Bonzi, when he fell to then-No. 808-ranked Karen Khachanov at the 2013 Kremlin Cup.

Ramos-Vinolas will next face French No. 16 seed Lucas Pouille, whom he beat in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters semi-finals in April. Pouille advanced to the third round for his best Roland Garros showing by sweeping Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 7-6(5), 6-1, 6-2. “Honestly, I can’t say I’m happy or satisfied to have reached the third round… I want to go a lot deeper than that,” Pouille said. “I’ll try and continue and take each match as it comes.”

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