Dimitrov outlasts Troicki, can he actually beat Federer?



BRISBANE, Jan. 7, 2016 – In 2014, Grigor Dimitrov was rising fast. He reached the Wimbledon semifinal, stunning Andy Murray in the quarters. He was right there against Novak Djokovic, but he fell 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6. The Bulgarian had tremendous variety, and he loved bending down low and sweetly touching a few drop shots that trickled right over the top of the net. However, Dimitrov would get anxious when the big points arrived, which is why Djokovic sensed it and he yanked him around until he fell over.

Nonetheless, the flashy Dimitrov wouldn’t back down – yet. At the US Open, he reached his career high at No. 8 when he made it to the fourth round, going down to the electric Gael Monfils. In the fall, he really wanted to go very deep, upset the big foes and make it into the top 8 in ATP Finals. He couldn’t do it. He was close, but even though he mixed up his attacks, his balls would land too short. He lost against Djokovic again, Murray got him back and Roger Federer did also, too.

In the start of 2015 in Brisbane, Dimitrov said he was ready to go. He was more mature now; he knew exactly what to do as he had more experience. But then Federer absolutely crushed him 6-2, 6-2 in the semis. After that, he began to be overly emotional. He did manage to reach the fourth round at the Aussie Open, but Murray out-thought him, winning 7-5 in the fourth set. At Monte Carlo on clay, he woke up when and he blew out Stan Wawrinka in the third round. However, Monfils smoked him and, after that, Dimitrov did almost nothing the rest of the season.

In November, he hired a new coach, Franco Davin, who worked with Juan Martin Del Potro for years. Maybe the Argentine will help him significantly, or maybe not.

This week though, Dimitrov has dug in in Brisbane, knocking out the cagey Gilles Simon in the first round and on Thursday, he outlasted the improved Viktor Troicki 5-7 7-6(6) 6-2. Has Dimitrov radically changed? No, he has not. But, if he wants to win a major some day, he was to be more aggressive and more consistent, but he seems to be just fine.

“I think I’ve always been aggressive when I play. I think that’s my style, I think,” he said. “But consistency is always the key. I think if you play well and have consistent results everything else come with it. Just want to play. That’s all I want to do right now. And focus one match at time, and whatever the outcome is, to put my head down and just keep working again until one day everything just becomes better and better.”

Now, he will face Federer, who destroyed Tobias Kamke 6-2, 6-1. The greats Swiss was impenetrable. Dimitrov has yet to beat him yet, and he is well aware than in 2015, Federer has been pretty consistent, even though he is ‘only’ ranked No. 3. Federer won six titles, and he did reach the finals at Wimbledon, the US Open and the ATP Finals, all going down to the amazing Djokovic. But Federer was pretty close. In fact, ‘Rog’ is pretty amazing, too.

“The results speak for themselves,” Dimitrov said. “Everything is just said and done out there and he’s still one of the best competitors out there. I mean, the greatest player out there. I’m sure there is still a lot to come. It’s just how it is. If you love the game and obviously you’ve achieved a lot, everything becomes pretty natural after that.”


Thankfully, all the women completed their matches, as they were healthy andno one retired. It had been a brutal day across the world with five out of top six pulled out. But on Thursday, they looked pretty spry.

Carla Suarez Navarro edged Varvara Lepchenko 4-6 6-4 7-5, Victoria Azarenka stomped Roberta Vinci 6-1 6-2, the U.S.’s 20-year-old Samantha Crawford stunned Andrea Petkovic 6-3 6-0, and Angelique Kerber beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-4. For the first four months in 2015, Suarez played terrific ball and cracked the top 10 for the first time. But then she slipped badly. Now, she says that she is mentally strong again.

“After [reaching the final] Rome I feel tired mentally,” she said. “Not too much physical, but mentally, because for being in the top 10 or top 5 of the best players in the world you have to be focus all the time. Not only one week. There is a lot of weeks and big tournaments and Grand Slams.

“I was there all the time, all the weeks, and after Rome, or after Wimbledon – I lost confidence also with the match that I play in Wimbledon. At this level is not easy have again confidence or feel good on court. So after US Open, in Asia I start to play a little bit better, a little bit not too nervous, just more relax than after Wimbledon. In the off-season I was good.”

Leave a Reply