The Bulgarian one-hander produced a scintillating performance to defeat third seed Daniil Medvedev in the second round of the tournament and managed to replicate his swashbuckling style to earn wins over Hubert Hurkacz and Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach just the second ATP Masters finals of his career.
Unfortunately for Dimitrov, he crossed paths with World No. 1 Novak Djokovic who just doesn't lose tennis finals on a regular basis these days. And aside from that, the 32-year-old has had a psychological barrier in the matchup against the Serbian.
His solitary win over Djokovic in 11 meetings was in Madrid in 2013. Djokovic added to the agony by winning for the 12th time in 13 matches and denied Dimitrov completing one of the most remarkable title-winning weeks of this year's season.
After the match and just before the trophy presentation, the former World No. 3 was in tears having come within spitting distance of winning the second Masters title of his career. He buried his head in the towel before Djokovic halted his on-court interview and walked over to his chair to console him.
Dimitrov explained the real reason why he was visibly emotional after losing the final in just 98 minutes. He called them "happy tears" and didn't want people to have a negative perception. He stated that he had been through a lot in the past few months both on and off the court, while refraining from getting into detail.
"It's difficult to explain emotions, I think. You want it. You know, it's tough when it doesn't happen. Only I know, in a way, without, like, feeling sorry for myself, what I've gone through the past months on and off the court."
"Those are happy tears. I don't want to have them as something negative. I'm human, after all. At the end of the day, I think just the buildup not only of the last two weeks, the last months of hard work, and the big trip in China, everything has been kind of, in a way, snowballing like day after day, match after match."