Top seed Rafael Nadal looks to be in good touch leading into the business end of the 2020 Mexican Open. He has made his way to semi-final without having dropped a single set. But the world no. 2 is all set to face a tough test in form of the ever-dangerous Bulgarian, Grigor Dimitrov in the last four clash here in Acapulco on the centre court on Friday.
Tough test it is, despite Nadal's overwhelming record against his lesser fancied oppenent. Of the duo's thirteen previous meetings, the Spaniard has won all but one. But there is more to the match-up than just stats.
For starters, many of their matches have been very closely contested, with Nadal finding the extra push just in the nick of time. Who could ever forget the stunning 2017 Australian Open semi-final that Nadal won after five excruciating sets?
Also see | Australian Open 2017: Vintage Rafael Nadal outclasses Grigor Dimitrov to set up dream 'Federer-Nadal' final
These tight matches have a lot of to do with the very similar styles of tennis. Both Nadal and Dimitrov are great all-round players and can hit any shot in the book from even the most difficult of court positions. The only major difference is, while Nadal is ready to indulge in rallies from the back court, Dimitrov looks to be more aggressive from the get go. It will be fair to say that neither men will be willing to change that. They have played their entire careers a certain way and the results have flown in for most parts.
It will however be in the interest of Dimitrov to try and do something differently against his opponent this time around. Things that he has done have obviously not worked for him and a little tweak in strategy might be his only option here.
He could very well take a page out of Dominic Thiem handbook and not try and beat Nadal at his own game. Instead, if he could just give the Spaniard a different look at the ball every time that he is hitting a return, that might upset Nadal's rhythm. To try and do things differently looks to be Dimitrov's only option to give himself a fighting chance here.
Prediction: Nadal to win in straight sets
Published 28 Feb 2020, 16:53 IST