Federer Shuts Out Dimtrov in Straight Sets

“Step aside youngster, your time will come. But it’s not now“. That was the mythical GOAT’s simple but clear message to Dimitrov tonight in Basel. There was no  hesitant start this time, aside from going down 0-40 on his serve in his first service game. That ended up being a key game in the 1st set. I wouldn’t call the start from Roger hesitant, but Dimitrov did look like the more confident of the two in the first half of the set. I would rather call it a slow start from Roger, because in the 7th game he broke Dimitrov after holding his own serve to love. Then at 3-5 with Dimitrov serving to stay in the set things got away from him, as Roger broke him again to win the first set. So definitely there was a momentum shift in the 1st set from the 6th game onward. I thought Dimitrov getting broken a second time in the 1st set was a bad sign for him.

After looking like the better player at the start he should at least have made Roger serve out the 1st set, but dropping seve again was a taste of what was to come. At first Dimitrov looked like he would come back and level at a set all, after breaking in the 3rd game of the 2nd set. It was a loose game from Roger after he had a 30-0 lead and it included 2 double faults. Things then went according to serve until Dimitrov served for the 2nd set at 5-4. Dimitrov caved in mentally once more as he played an average game and missed an overhead badly on break point. Serving to stay in the match at 5-6 he went down 0-30 on his serve as well, but at least this time he held serve to force the tie break. In the breaker he dropped his first service point and was always playing catch up from then on. At 1-3 in the breaker Roger came to the net and Dimitrov missed a backhand pass which pretty much sealed his fate.

Back in the flow

He then made an unforced error on the forehand to change sides at 1-5. He held his next serve but Roger was in no mood to mess around as he sealed the deal by winning both service points, ending Dimitrov with a service winner. I liked Roger’s no-nonsense and focused attitude in this match. It wasn’t his best but you would not expect that at this point. He is still in a confidence building phase. But there was a sense of urgency which has been absent for most of this year. Of course the fact that it is indoors and that he is playing at home doesn’t hurt. I have been stressing for some time now how important the indoor season is and that it is not too late for Roger to make an impact in 2013, while others have even suggested that he should call it a season after Shanghai. That would have been suicide as far as I’m concerned.

There is still much to play for this season. To sum up today’s match I will say that Roger was mentally the superior player and wanted it more. He showed that by fighting back from 0-40 in his opening service game and by getting the break back in the 2nd set. Dimitrov on the other failed to capitalize when he had Roger down 0-40 and then faded away in the second part of the 1st set. He should also not have dropped serve when serving for the 2nd set. Dimitrov is obviously a very talented player and an exciting prospect for the future, but Roger’s vast experience and sense of urgency saw him through here. It has been a good couple of weeks for Dimitrov and he will learn from this match against Roger, but Roger was superior in every area today and he is not yet in the mood to pass the torch. Simple as that.

Still the king

Roger now plays Pospisil for a place in the final who had another good 7-6(11), 6-4 win over Dodig today, and he looks like another promising youngster from Canada. I saw a few points today. He has a pretty big serve, a pretty big forehand, and he can play at the net as well. Definitely not an opponent to take lightly. If Roger makes the final he will officially have qualified for London, and that would be a nice way to head into Paris as there would be no pressure. By the way the Paris draw was made today and Roger will play the winner of Anderson and Youzhny in the 2nd round. So once again a lot to play for in his next match and he takes a 1-0 head-to-head record into the match with Pospisil. In the top half Del Potro’s impressive run continues and he will face Roger-Vasselin for a place in the final.

It feels good to be a Fedfan again.

 

Highlights:

Posted in Uncategorized.

7 Comments

  1. First off Ru-an thank you for your post yesterday which alerted me to watch this match. Though I spend Roger’s matches lately biting my fingernails, there were a few points, like the first of the second set, where both players hit the ball and moved so beautifully, it was awesome to watch such smooth and graceful athletes in flight on the same court together. You described the match peRFectly. Nice to see Roger really dig in and fight it out when he had to. Hopefully he’ll gain confidence and build on this because he has a long way to go to take on the big boys. The way he mentally fell out in the 3rd game second set would have most likely been the beginning of a vicious spiral downward against someone who could jump on that weakness and make him pay. Fortunately Roger fought hard and Dimitrov lost his nerve when victory looked possible. I get your point about how important some victories will be for him in the next 2 months but if not now, when, on the bigger racket???

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Eric. There is no way he will change the racquet now so we will just have to accept that. If he was going to it would be before Australia next year, but I doubt he’s going to do it. Or maybe he does. We will just have to wait and see.

    [Reply]

  2. To me Roger played very well against Dimitrov.
    Roger has this unique ability to take the ball extremely early and to decide in a fraction of a second how to play the ball and where to send it, which Dimitrov clearly doesn’t have yet.
    In fact I don’t get why some people call him baby fed. He doesn’t move like Roger, doesn’t serve like him, doesn’t have that blistering forehand, misses a lot more backhands than Roger, doesn’t have that sublime flicked lob etc etc..
    He’s not like Federer and never will be like him in my view.
    Anyway, I’m very pleased with Roger’s performance and very hopeful for him reaching the final.
    I think it is too early to talk about juncture yet, or anything decisive in his career.
    Only his match-up against top 5-players will reveal him something about where he is at the moment, and what he needs to keep improving his game.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Cannot agree more Wilfried. Right now, Federer is way ahead of Dimitrov in shot making. I am wondering about the fate of this particular match had Fed been on his prime. Dimitrov does not seem to have the full follow through on his shots as Fed has. Also he has way to go in handling the short low balls. Roger’s net play was phenomenal yesterday. May be, as we have been very apprehensive about Fed’s performance of late, we have not been able to appreciate how great Fed played yesterday. Though it could be termed as JesusFed performance by any stress of imagination, but there were some glimpse of that in yesterday’s match. Does anyone have statistics of his winners to UE ratio? In my count, it should be around 30 to 15/16 and which is pretty good in my opinion. COME ON FED!

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    “Though it could not be termed as JesusFed performance” My bad.

    [Reply]

  3. Hi Ru-an, I watched the entire match yesterday and I totally agree with your observations on the see-saw performances from both players and of Roger’s will being imposed towards the end of the match. This was a contest of nerves more than spectacular shotmaking. Aesthetically it was ugly, if this is even possible with these two guys. Numerous second serves, double faults, sundry UEs and the absense of a regular rythm made me squirm a bit. I must have facepalmed a dozen times at Dimitrov’s UEs in the second half of set 2. Roger did well to ride the support from his home audience to reach home for the Semis with Pospicil – did I even spell that right? Anyone with that kind of name either has to be the ATP Number 1 or must not play tennis at all. Finally, I hope a few of us here have the sense to understand that Grigor has a complete game like Roger with a one handed BH and that has led a lot of fans to call him ‘baby-fed’. From what I can see, he does not deliberately try to copy Roger, although he, like a few others, is influenced by the ergonomics of Roger’s game. and he is aware of his own talents as a shotmaker from unexpected and awkward positions. This prompts more unfair comparisons with Roger and even some commentators are riding it to the hilt. He sure is more talented in terms of shotmaking variety than his peers like Raonic, Tomic, Nishikori, etc. and he just happens to have a similar game to Roger’s when compared to the rest of the field. He’s in an era where peak cycles seem to happen in the late 20s and none of his peers have gone anywhere close to Grand slam success. It’s therefore futile to compare his timeline with Roger’s or even Nadal’s at a similar age.

    [Reply]

  4. Well that was quite a match just now between Pospasil and Federer. It was extremely disheartening to see him drop serve at 5-3 in the 2nd set. That sort of awful effort at key moments has cost him this year. The tiebreaker slipped away quickly after a lucky net cord from Pospasil, who really played great , especially his second serve and forcing Federer into a passive position throughout the match.

    Federer then blew a 40-0 lead to drop serve early in the 3rd but showed a lot of guts by breaking back at love. This was about as tense a match as it comes. He seemed visibly tired as the 3rd went on.

    On one hand I guess people will say he will gain confidence from winning a close one. But really he expended a lot of energy here – he should have won in 2 straight. Still gutsy and it was nice to see some fight in him. Great support from the Swiss fans.

    As for Del Potro tomorrow, well we can’t get our expectations too high. Del Potro has had a pretty easy draw (dropped a set today) and will be rested – he would be hard to handle even for a rested Fed. Still he did well to make the finals; and we have next week too. Hopefully he is not too tired from all of this.

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *