Roger Federer defeats Grigor Dimitrov in 3rd round, wins 300th Grand Slam match of career
Swiss Maestro Roger Federer, seeded third at the Australian Open, defeated Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the pair’s third round match at the Australian Open. By winning the match, Federer became the first man in history to notch up 300 victories in Grand Slams; only Martina Navratilova (306) has won more.
The Swiss overcame a rain break to outlast Dimitrov in four sets, exhibiting some great play in the process.
Meeting Dimitrov for the fifth time in his career, Federer had little reason to be concerned going into the match against the 28th- ranked shot-maker, whose game is so reminiscient of the Swiss’ that he is often described as ‘Baby Federer.’
However, Federer lost last year to the lower-ranked Andreas Seppi of Italy at exactly the same stage in the tournament – and that result had also been unexpected, which may have been a possible cause of worry for the player.
The former World No.1 had beaten his younger counterpart on each of the four occasions they had met prior to the Australian Open, winning in straight sets on all but one occasion. The pair most recently met at the Brisbane International this year, with Federer dropping a set en route to his victory over Dimitrov.
Federer was first to draw blood, breaking Dimitrov once in the first set, and with 15 winners hitting over twice as many as his rival. He also committed 14. unforced errors in that set alone.
That trend continued into the second set, and although Dimitrov only managed 8 winners to Federer’s 12 in the second set, the Swiss, who eschews long rallies, added another eighteen unforced errors to his tally, with the Bulgarian committing only 8 in comparison
The errors were key to Federer’s 3-6 loss in the second set, but the Swiss played a renewed game in the third, taking his rival to break point on three different occasions, successfully capitalising twice. He also managed to rein in his game, committing 8 unforced errors in the set, which he won convincingly – 6-1, and brought himself back on track to win.
He committed another 15 errors in the fourth and final set, but on this occasion it was Dimitrov who outdid him in that aspect – and with only 5 winners, was thoroughly outclassed, losing the deciding set 4-6.
Federer finally beat Dimitrov but the match served to further highlight a potentially fatal flaw in Federer’s game – the Swiss’ tendency to give away points on unforced errors.
He has now progressed to the 4th round of the Australian Open, a title he has won on four occasions, and set another milestone in his illustrious career en route: