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Once known as 'Baby Fed,' Grigor Dimitrov makes his own way at Australian Open

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MELBOURNE, Australia - He's been called "Baby Fed" for his Roger Federer-like one-handed backhands, and is also known as the boyfriend of Maria Sharapova.

On Saturday, Grigor Dimitrov got his own spotlight at the Australian Open on a day when all three players advanced to the fourth round.

The 22-year-old Bulgarian, considered one of the up-and-coming players on the men's tour, is starting to live up to expectations. Which is why he and his coach are trying to phase out the nickname.

"We have said it loud and clear, that my name is Grigor," Dimitrov said, when asked if the namesake was a thing of the past.

"I think I am proving that every day and every match that I'm winning out here in the Slams," he added. "I think that page is definitely in the past now."

Dimitrov advanced to the second week of a major for the first time when he converted his fifth match point to beat Canadian powerhouse No. 11 Milos Raonic, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10).

It was the latest milestone for the No. 22-seeded Dimitrov, playing with a seeding for the first time in Melbourne. It was also the first time in four trips he has moved past the second round at the Australian Open.

Dimitrov's excitement was palpable during his on-court interview.

"First time for me to be in the second week!" he said, beaming at the crowd. "I guess I'll see you guys next week."

While Dimitrov is trying to make his own name, he does share some similarities with Federer, according to the 17-time Grand Slam winner himself.

"I like his game. Clearly I can relate to him, how he plays," Federer told a news conference after his third-round win. "We both have a one-handed backhand and we like to play sort of athletic tennis, you know, which is offensive."

The two also now share the same agent.

"I think he has what it takes to move up," Federer said. "I think this year is going to be very important for him to make a big step in the rankings. Start knocking on the door of the top 10."

Dimitrov gained some notoriety last year, when Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova had an off-court tiff that started over an interview Williams gave to Rolling Stone magazine. The article quoted Williams mocking an unnamed top-five player (believed to be Sharapova) and her love life. Sharapova responded with some comments about Williams.

Sharapova was not pleased Saturday when asked if she and Dimitrov ever joked together about her four Grand Slam titles to his zero.

"I don't know if that's a joke. Is it?" the No. 3-seeded Sharapova said. "We have a lot of different topics we discuss. That's not one of them."

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