Dimitrov Sets Up Quarter Final with Federer

Well it’s on folks. Dimitrov set up the first installment of the Federov rivalry with a clinical 6-3, 6-2 victory over Dolgopolov today. It was really quite an impressive match from him. What was most impressive was probably his serving, but also just the overall efficiency with which he played. Sure Dolgopolov is erratic and doesn’t play the percentages, but Dimitrov didn’t waste any chances and just looks focused. The first title in Stockholm certainly seems to have given him a confidence boost and he is continuing in the same vein in Basel. The first title can take pressure off a player after which the floodgates open. This may be the case for Dimitrov right now, which would not be a good thing for Roger. That said, I get the feeling Roger is also finding some confidence and he started looking really good there in the final set against Istomin.

If you just look at their respective 2nd round matches it would appear as though Dimitrov is the favorite. He was a lot more clinical and efficient than Roger who started out low on confidence. But Istomin is probably a tougher opponent than the erratic Dolgopolov. Also it doesn’t really matter how you start a match. It’s more about how you finish it. If you had a rough start and fought your way through it to end in style, then it usually gives a player loads of confidence. We have seen that many times in the past with Roger. But not this year. This year he failed in the next match even after coming through a tough one. In the past I would have said Roger is the favorite, but I won’t say it now even if I think it. All I can say is that I’m glad they are finally gonna play and I am looking forward to it. Also it should be pretty close.

Time to put the game face on again…

As far as how their games match up goes, they play a very similar game of course. I think Roger is the more talented player, but Dimitrov may end up being better mentally. Usually the more talented a player is the more mentally fragile they are. It’s way too early to say this with any certainty however, and it is just a gut feeling from my side. Roger has won the most slams in history so he is obviously very good mentally. It is just something that has been exploited past his prime. And of course Roger is not finished yet. But tomorrow’s match could already give us answers about that. Some people are already talking about the ‘passing of the torch’ for this match. I’m not gonna give an opinion about that. I’ll just say that this could potentially be an important meeting. It’s not like the 2001 meeting between Roger and Sampras because this is first of all not a slam.

But they both are at an important juncture in their career right now, and the result of this match could have lasting repercussions. First of all we know Roger has been struggling with confidence and the indoor season is an ideal place for him to fix that. He already had a confidence building win against Istomin. If he beats Dimitrov he will be the favorite against the winner of Dodig and Pospisil. And if he makes the final you definitely won’t count him out to win his 2nd title of the year, no matter who he faces in the final. That would be huge at this point. Even making the final would be huge at this point. However, Dimitrov himself is on a run of form and if Roger doesn’t stop him he could go on to win a 2nd straight title here, and go from strength to strength very quickly. The old but experienced lion needs to hold off the young but inexperienced lion who is threatening to conquer his kingdom…

 

Nice video from Jonathan showing some sweet backhands Roger hit vs Istomin:

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15 Comments

  1. Great post, Ru-an, last sentence tops it off….well, stated. It will be an exciting evening, may Roger be the King of the match.
    Best,
    Dolores

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    Ru-an Reply:

    ;-)

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  2. Well, guys! It’s on!!!

    Even though I am Bulgarian, I’ll be rooting for Roger!!!!

    Allez!

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    Jiten Reply:

    Xайде Vily. Fed will definitely win because he knows he has loyal fans like you. Cheers!

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Vily and Jiten, I am trying to think positive…. Remember what Roger’s form was BEFORE he played Rafa at Cincy?? And remember how Roger came out and almost BEAT Rafa at Cincy?? When it mattered Roger stood there and came roaring back. I think this will be with Dimitrov too. The other two (Mannarino and Istomin) I think he knew somehow he would win. But I think he knows for Dimitrov he has to play great, so he will (just like he was ready for Rafa). I have good hopes… it will not be easy, will definitely be in 3 sets, but Roger will come out of it as the winner.
    I am not underestimating Dimitrov. He beat Novak and Ferrer and made it difficult for Andy and Rafa. Imagine how good you must be to do that.
    But… if Roger wins tonight… he will be roaring like a lion and will win Basel too. But first let him win tonight.

    Ps: Did anyone also thought it was weird that Severin was watching the Dimitrov match???

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  3. I opened the stream am I saw Dimitrov-RF: 1-0
    and 40-0 on Fed first game (three break points for Dimitrov)

    Now the first set is over !!!

    Allez Roger !!!

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  4. Now I can go to sleep happy !!!
    Allez Roger !!!

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    rahan Reply:

    I am looking at the match again and I realize that RF saved 9 breakpoints.
    Impressive, but not good for my heart !

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  5. First of all, Roger should play ALL his matches with that shirt !!!
    Second of all, this is what I want to see from Roger. He does not have to be quite dominant yet. As long as he fights and fights for it. He may not have played perfect, but his fighting spirit and never give up attitude (two things that people always claim Rafa has) got him through.
    Third of all, many thanks to Paul Annacone. But THIS is and will be Roger on his best. When he is alone, on court, the loss will be his doing, the win will be his doing and because he is alone on the court (without a coach) it is up to him to find a solution to win. And is that not what everybody always says… Roger is the best problemsolver….
    He may win tomorrow or not, but this is the beginning of a great Roger-time….

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Great comment Katyani. I thought it was good. Can’t expect better than a straight set win over a confident and talented youngster at this point. Sure it helped that it was indoors but still a great result I thought. Agree about the coaching thing as well. Roger shouldn’t hire a new coach. Luthi is all he needs, which isn’t much. He is not gonna listen to what anyone tells him anyway, so it’s pointless to have anything more. Like you say he is best when he is alone and has to figure things out for himself. He has such a good tennis head on his shoulders that he doesn’t need someone telling him what to do. He knows he can be stubborn and it’s up to him to change it. No coach can make him change anyway. Agree about this looking like the beginning of something good for Fed too. I kept believing that once the indoor events started that something will change and it happened that way. So I’ve been really happy with his progress so far this week. You’d expect him to make the final now at least but it’s back to taking it one match at a time. If he beats Pospisil he will officially qualify for London, which would be a good way to go to Paris. No pressure.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Watch out Ru-an… you have competition… you are not the only one anymore who knows Roger !!! Smileyface !!! No seriously, we all know Roger is stubborn and sometimes we want to change that. But on the other hand.. the guy did win 77 titles beeing stubborn. So it is working for him. Yes, he does listen to advice, but I don’t think you can tell Roger what to do. Him beeing without a coach is for now maybe the best. Like you and I both say, let him (when he is alone on court) figure out how to win. I mean, did he not win 6 or more GS without a coach??? I mean, seriously, he saved 9 BP. 9 !!! Our Roger??? That is what he is good at, solving problems… winning…
    Ru-an, I hope this is a message that Roger gave out to all the youngsters and journeyman… be carefull… I am back… don’t think for a second you can beat me without a fight…

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    Jiten Reply:

    Wow! Seems Katyani is on fire a la Roger. On a serious note I also agree that sending out message to his opponent is very important. Although most of us are of the opinion that the Fed aura is gone, yesterday’s match really showed it still affects the opponent’s head!

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Jiten… I try… Not as good as Ru-an, but I try. Hopefully like we all say this is the beginning of a great Roger time… Hope he fights his way through Pospisil…

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  6. I checked a few times on the cell phone, and when I saw 5-3 in the second, I was sure we’d be heading for a 3rd set. Can I honestly say, I was very happily surprised when Fed came back.

    I thought I had taped it on my DVR, but the Tennis Channel’s scheduling is horrendous, so I’ll check it out tonight. G

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