At this French Open, Grigor Dimitrov has won both of his opening round matches over five thrilling sets. In his 2nd round match up against Marin Cilic, the Bulgarian showed tremendous resilience in going past the Croatian 6-7, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6, 6-3, in what was a sensational come from behind victory.
And the draw is not getting any easier for Dimitrov as he meets the 3-time Grand Slam Champion, 2015 French Open winner Stan Wawrinka in his upcoming 3rd round clash at Roland Garros 2019 Yet another interesting battle quite early in the tournament is on the cards as the two fallen stars will look forward to regain their magic touch, which seems to have deserted them for a while now, at the ongoing French Open.
While the Bulgarian had to work extremely hard so far in the tournament, Wawrinka had a relatively easy path up until this point, winning his first and second round matches in four and three sets respectively.
Dimitrov, referred to as ‘baby Federer’, when he first came on the tour and Stan, both are excellent exponents of single-handed backhands and their menacing, ruthless and accurate backhand exchanges would be absorbing and engaging to witness as they look forward to resume their rivalry on Parisian clay.
Their head to head rivalry is tied at 4-4 so far with the Swiss winning on all the three occasions when they squared-off against each other at the Grand Slam Majors.
Both of them have undergone terrible seasons on clay so far before heading into the 2nd Major of the year, and would be desperately hoping for a turnaround in their fortunes at the ongoing French Open.
For Grigor Dimitrov, whose game is not ideally suited for clay, following his inspired win over Marin Cilic, can this French Open act as a catalyst in the start of something spectacular for the Bulgarian? Well, he certainly needs some inspiration and resilience to revive his career once again, which seems to have just tapered off following the incredible heights of 2017, where he not only won the Nitto ATP finals, but also reached a career-high ranking of 3.
The story of Wawrinka, Dimitrov’s opponent in the third round is not much different either, as he too was plagued by injury concerns and terrible slump in form following his stupendous run to the final at Roland Garros, back in 2017. With an inherently power-packed game, Wawrinka’s style of play, which is physical in nature, is better suited on clay and therefore should consider the ongoing French Open an excellent opportunity to revamp his start-stop career.
One can expect Dimitrov to be exhausted following his two back to back five-set matches and hence he would find it hard to overcome Wawrinka over the best of five sets contest in their Round 3 clash.
However, it would be fascinating to witness how Wawrinka reacts, if indeed Dimitrov gets on a roll. One thing is for sure, the longer the match lasts, the more it favours the Swiss.
Prediction: Stan Wawrinka to win in four sets.Published 31 May 2019, 11:08 IST