US Open 2019 quarterfinal: Roger Federer vs Grigor Dimitrov, preview and prediction
For long, the talented Bulgarian has been touted as the next best thing, and nicknamed “Baby Fed” by tennis fans for a style reminiscent of the Swiss maestro. But there have been only flashes of brilliance by Dimitrov, who has so far failed to live up to the expectations.
He has been going through a very tough phase in the last couple of years, especially after his 2017 year-end ATP Finals title. In fact, a run to the quarterfinal at the US Open in itself seems like a stupendous run for Dimitrov; so low were the expectations from him based on his recent form.
He has no doubt been aided by the fact that he has not had to play a single seeded player so far. He was slated to meet the 12th seed Borna Coric in the second round, only for the young Croat to pull out of the match and hand a walkover to the Bulgarian.
Dimitrov's performances in the other three matches have been good, without being spectacular. He dropped a set to Andreas Seppi in the first round. Even in his straight sets win over Kamil Majchrzak, his struggle in the first two sets was there for all to see.
If he wants to make his match against Federer competitive, he should first ensure that he serves as well as, if not better than, he did against Alex de Minaur in the fourth round. In that match Dimitrov got 70 percent of his first serves in and won 78 percent of his first serve points.
His opponent on the other hand has looked in scintillating form in his last two matches. In fact, the way Federer played his first two matches against Sumit Nagal and Damir Dzumhur, many thought he was still not over his heartbreaking Wimbledon loss to Novak Djokovic. Federer lost his first sets in those matches and seemed quite rusty.
But the Federer that we saw in his last two matches against Dan Evans and David Goffin, where he lost a total of just nine games, is the magician that we have known for long.
If Federer plays the way he has played in his last two matches, even the best of Dimitrov will fall way short of making the match competitive.
For Dimitrov to have any chance in this match, he has to play to his full potential and hope that the Federer who turns up on the court is closer to the one who played the first two matches in the tournament. As things stand now, it will be a brave man who will bet against Federer making it 8-0 in their head to head meetings.
Prediction: Federer to win in straight sets.Published 03 Sep 2019, 11:22 IST