A hard fought win for Federer in Friday's Brisbane Quarter Final as he defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-4 to keep his title defense hopes alive. A stylish 36 minute opener from the Swiss was followed by an up and down 2nd set which saw Dimitrov hit back to force a third set. In the decider Roger remained solid, taking advantage to break serve at 2-2 before finally closing it out 6-4 after spurning 3 match points at 3-5 0/40.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to serve, holding to love in speedy fashion. Dimitrov quickly levelled to 15 before Roger again reeled off a love hold. At 2-1 the Swiss made his first inroads with a 30-30 but Dimitrov held firm. Fed again held to love and in game 6 had his first break point which Dimitrov stamped out with a big serve. 3-3 was soon 4-4, and Roger played another stylish service game, hitting a backhand half volley flick on game point to move 5-4 ahead. Serving to stay in the set Dimitrov slipped to 15-40 but saved both set points with huge first serves, however Roger chip charged at deuce to force the error and converted his third set point with a slightly lucky net cord and a poor miss from Dimitrov.
Set 2 saw Fed serving first again and he held to love for a 1-0 lead. Dimitrov responded for 1-1 and pushed Roger to deuce on his serve with two great points. The scoreboard quickly ticked over to 3-3 and Dimitrov was starting to play more aggressively, fashioning two break points which he converted when Roger missed a down the line forehand. The break was consolidated for a 5-3 lead before Roger held for 4-5. Dimitrov then had the set on his racquet but faltered, getting broken to 30 and only making 2 of 6 first serves.
Both players then traded holds to force a tie break where Dimitrov pulled away, winning the first point on Roger's serve and taking it 7-4. Sloppy from Fed in places but Dimitrov came up with some good shots.
Momentum was now firmly on Dimitrov's side and he held to 15 for a 1-0 lead. Roger responded with a love hold and at 2 games all the Swiss got the all important breakthrough. The key turning point was the forehand Dimitrov missed at 15-15, he went for a huge inside in but netted it. Roger then broke, consolidated for 4-2. |Fed missed 3 match points at 5-3 but served it out to love with some clever spot serving to take it 6-4. Allez!
|R. Federer||G. Dimitrov|
|1st Serve %||63%||60%|
|1st Serve Points Won||45/52 (87%)||46/62 (74%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||19/31 (61%)||21/42 (50%)|
|Break Points Saved||0/1 (0%)||8/11 (73%)|
|Service Games Played||16||16|
|1st Return Points Won||16/62 (26%)||7/52 (13%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||21/42 (50%)||12/31 (39%)|
|Break Points Won||3/11 (27%)||1/1 (100%)|
|Return Games Played||16||16|
|Net Points Won||27/35||12/22|
|Total Service Points Won||64/83 (77%)||67/104 (64%)|
|Total Return Points Won||37/104 (36%)||19/83 (23%)|
|Total Points Won||101/187 (54%)||86/187 (46%)|
Thoughts on the Match
Flying start, sloppy middle and a decent ending is the best way to sum this one up. Roger played almost the perfect first set, soaking up all Dimitrov's flashy shots with his own brilliance and taking the ball mega early to drop just 2 points on serve. The second though saw him slump, looked a bit tired, was seen massaging his leg at a changeover, coughing into his towel and Dimitrov upped his game – playing more aggressively himself to deservedly take the set in a breaker even though he should have served it out first time of asking. The third set then saw Dimitrov's level drop and Federer's stay consistent to come through.
The key turning point was at 2-2, 15-15. Dimitrov blazed a high risk inside in forehand to the net and lost the next 2 points to drop serve. Up until that point he looked confident with momentum on his side and Roger looking a little laboured from the back of the court. Instead of just going cross court and testing Roger's fitness out he went for the big shot. Would have been a clean winner had it come off but instead it derailed his service game and he never got back into it. I'm not sure he will get a better shot at beating Roger than this one to be honest, he had the match right there after winning the second set. Roger was not moving as well as he had done earlier in the game but Dimitrov faded quickly only winning 2 points on the return after being broken.
As for Fed he looked awesome in the first set and a half, then ordinary for the remainder. With the flu perhaps his stamina isn't quite there, combined with a lack of matches too makes it harder to keep the level really high for 2 hours or more. Dimitrov did play well too though, hitting some big groundstroke winners and it is easily the best match he's played against Federer so far in 4 encounters.
Predictions vs. Thiem
Next up is Dominic Thiem who defeated Marin Cilic in three sets earlier in the day. Thiem won 3 titles last year and he's a dangerous player so could pose something of a threat. Federer's never played him before either but he has practised with him so has a good idea of what to expect.
I saw Thiem play Gasquet in Basel where he was outplayed and the one thing he needs his time to tee up his shots – will Roger give him that on this surface? He rushed Dimitrov in the first set and I think Thiem needs more time than Grigor so if Roger presses forward and keeps the court position like today's first set he should be ok. Hopefully the lurgy and his legs are good to go with the short turnaround for tomorrow's match at 2pm local.