TennisReporters.net top 32 women: No. 15-11

Madison Keys
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

15 Qinwen Zheng

She is only 21-years old so with our a doubt, she is rising, quickly. In October, she won Zhengzhou, China, taking down  against Maria Sakkari and  Barbora Krejcikova. Her forehand and her backhand can be so consistent, and she can be thriving. She grabbed it and she won Palermo, and at the end of the year, she reached at the final at the sort-of-new at the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai. She had won three matches, but finally, Beatriz Haddad Maia out hit her. Gradually, Zheng  is pushing herself harder, and she knows that her forehand is better than she thinks it is. Also, she has to play more doubles so she can really learn at the net. Apparently, she will listen to almost everyone.

14 Petra Kvitova

It might be possible that the Czech can win another Grand Slam, but it won’t be easy, as the former two-time Wimbledon champ is slowing down. She can bash the balls, with her forehand and her backhand, crosscourt or down the line, yet she isn’t fast, when she is running, so she can put in some multiple errors. When she is feeling right, and super confident,  after she nails a winner, you could here her scream, in delight. But if her serve and her return goes away, then she will shake her head. This year, even though she lost a lot of matches, but she did win Miami and Berlin. Then she was great. However, at the Slams, in the last three years, she has not gone into the second week. That is a bit shocking, so in 2024, she has to more ability.  

13 Jelena Ostapenko

All year, or many years, it looked like that when she is smashing the ball, from the backcourt, and she is on fire, she should have a chance to win another Grand Slam. But she hasn’t yet, as she won the 2017 Roland Garros, and she was so phenomenal, but after that, even though she has gone deep, but she could not make it back into the finals. This year, she did win Birmingham in June, and at the Australian Open, in the fourth round, she beat Coco Gauff before she lost against Elena Rybakina. On the day, she can play marvelous, almost stunning against the current No. 1, Iga Swiatek at the U.S. Open. After that, though, Gauff overwhelmed her. Ostapenko did not much after that, so next year,if she can be more consonant, and amend at the net, she will win another title. How many more, though, who knows?

12 Madison Keys

Since she came into the WTA, she was already so good, with her massive forehand and her backhand, as well as her first serve. She knew that in order to beat the best players, she had to attack, early, when she returns, and demolish into the corners. She has gone very deep at the Slams, at the 2017 U.S. Open, when she reached into the final, and she was playing astounding, but she froze, and she lost easily to Sloane Stephens.

This year she was vertical, losing early, but at some  tournaments, she can look darn good, when she won Eastbourne on the grass. Obviously, though, she likes the hardcourts, and at the 2023 U.S. Open, she began to catch the wildfire, going into the semis against the No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka. She had so many chances to win the match, but Sabalenka hung in there, and in the third set in a tiebreak, she fell down. She cried. That happens with everyone, so if the 28-year-old Keys won’t get hurt next year — and she does it a lot — then she should return better, and be more patient.  As she said: “Setting a goal, accomplishing it, and feeling good about yourself can help build confidence and perseverance.”

11 Beatriz Haddad Maia

Right at the end of the year, she won the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai, beating Zheng and Keys in the final. That was one of her biggest title, ever. She can be up and down, beating some fine players, but also, she will back up. She did upset Elena Rybakina,and she did reach into the semis at Roland Garros,  beating Ons Jabeur, before  she lost against Swiatek 6-2, 7-6. That was decent enough, and one of the reasons why is because she plays a lot in the doubles, too, which is helpful. She is very good when she returns, and she can meld it up, from the backcourts, but in order to win some major events, she needs to grow, on the court. She seems like a nice person, so next year, she will be additionally satisfied, in the matches.

TennisReporters.net top 32 women: No. 20-16

Veronika Kudermetova


20 Caroline Garcia

Last year, the French woman was on fire, beating a number of fine players, leaping on the lines. However, last year, she did not go deep much at all, except in Lyon, in February, and she reached into the final, but she couldn’t make it. In the 2022 WTA Finals, she played amazing, winning the title when she pushed down, grinding verses Aryna Sabalenka. The now 30-year-old Garcia has beaten some excellent players, but also, the reason why is that she has not made into the Grand Slams finals. She does have an interesting strokes, with her forehand and her backhand, but her serve, and at the net, it can fall  off. She will have another shot to finally win a a Slam, but to do it, she will have to be totally locked in. As she said: “I sank on my own. I’m making the effort, but it doesn’t work. I would like to know why, to be able to control it.”

19 Veronika Kudermetova

She had a great tournament in September, winning Toray, beating Iga Swiatek and Jessica Pegula. She was so consistent, and her backhand was spot-on. Her forehand can flatten it out, and when she returns, when she is playing fantastic, she can go for it.  She plays a lot, and the Russian can mix it up, well, but also, she will throw in some odd errors. Going into to play at Roland Garros, she reached the semis twice, on the clay, in Madrid and Rome. Then in Paris, she folded it, immediately. Next year, in the Slams, she has to be much more patient, and don’t get scared.

18  Daria Kasatkina

The other Russian had a decent year, winning a number of matches, but she did not beat enough players in the top 10. Yes, she can be somewhat fit, and she can also attack when she is feeling solid. She is also rapidly, when she is running, to-and-fro. She had a very good year in 2022, but this year, she almost stopped. In 2024, it is time to move the change.  

17 Belinda Bencic

The Swiss began early, when she started to hit the ball harder, more frequently. She won the Adelaide, Australia, beating three top 10 players. She certainly likes to run, and chuck in some expert shots, with her forehand and her backhand. However, she did not plays well enough at the Aussie Open, when Aryna Sabalenka blitzed, her. When she is very hopeful, she can stay there for a long time.  She is thoughtful, and she will think about it, on the court, but she also can be bleak. Maybe to improve, she should try to play at the doubles, learning more when she serves and at the net.  

16 Liudmila Samsonova

Here is another Russian who had some prime weeks, but also, she has never gone deep at the Slams. She did have a smooth week when she reached the final in Montreal, stunning Sabalenka, Bencic, and Elena Rybakina before she lost against Jessica Pegula . Then in the fall, she reached into the final in Beijing, s clearly, she can be darn good. She can crack the ball, and she can also attack when she jumps on the second serve. She is very good, when she is on, but at the Slams she has never gone uno the second week. Next year, it time to do it.

TennisReporters.net top 32 women: No. 25-21

Elina Svitolina

25 Elina Svitolina
The Ukrainian had a very good year, reaching into the semis at Wimbledon, edging  Victoria Azarenka 7-6 in the third and she almost stunning the current No. 1 Iga Swiatek. She did lose in the semis, but she can be so consistent and can really grind it, hard. Over the years, she looked excellent, but also, mentally, when she was young, she would panic. Now she appears to be more stable. If she wants to win a Slam for the first time, she has to improve her return, and at the net. Also, she can throw in a few, cool shots.

24 Magda Linette
She has been playing for many years, and she has won some good players, but at the Slams, she didn’t  do much, until she became more fitting, and more powerful. She plays all the time, almost each week, unless she gets hurt, but at least she stays in there, and chuck it in some aloof shots.  Yes, she really wants to get into the top 10, for the first time, but if she wants to do that, then she must changed a few critical tactics, or she won’t.

23 Donna Vekic
In the first half of the year, that was solid by the  Croatia, winning Monterey, Mexico, and then in June, she reached in Berlin, upsetting Elena Rybakina  and Maria Sakkari. She said, “Every player’s goal is to win a Grand Slam title, but the difference now is that I truly believe that I can do it, for the first time in my life.” Then she has a lot of work to doing, given that in the last four months, she did very little. Perhaps she was hurt, physically, but her strokes were not deep enough, so if she wants to mix it up more, than she should feed in more variety.

22 Victoria Azarenka
It is almost impossible to see when she is playing, in a tournament, and if she is  playing great, early, or later, will she miss so many errors? Yes, she has won two Grand Slams at the Australian Open, over 10 years ago. Then, she was so rational, ripping her forehand and her backhand, down the line and crosscourt. However, even though she has been very good, she couldn’t stay there as the No. 1 for a long time. Her good friend, Serena Williams, beat Azarenka so many times, as she has certainly better when they serve and return. Maybe she can win a tournament next year, as in 2023, she didn’t, but she did reach into the semis at the Australian Open, before she lost against Elena Rybakina. Another opportunity?  Who, knows?

21 Ekaterina Alexandrova

She has not been very good  at the Slams, yet the Russian won the ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands in June, on the grass. That was jolly, as her forehand is huge, and she also really likes to play on the hard courts. Her backhand can be solid, and she is feeling very good, she can return into the corners. However, she has never reached into the quarters at the Slams, so next year, she will have to blend it up more, and hit her backhand in the middle, very deep on the lines.

TennisReporters.net top 32 men: No. 32-26

Felix Auger-Aliassime
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

32 Alexander Bublik
You never know how good he is, when he won a couple events, on the clay and the hardcourts, but also, week after week, he could lose, early. He can be very good, when he is locked in, but also, he disappears. He is tall, and he can blast the ball, yet he can over hit it. He has to change it a little bit, to go deep at the Grand Slams and the ATP 1000s. Good luck.

31 Jiri Lehecka
The Czech had a pretty good start in January, reaching the quarters at the Australian Open. However, in March, the 22- year-old lost a lot of matches, especially to go up against the top 15  players. He can be consistent, and he is pretty quick, but to learn how to throw in some more angles.

30 Tomas Martin Etcheverry
He finally cracked into the top 30, and while he wants to go further, the Argentine must have been thrilled. However, outside on the clay, he still has a lot of work to do. This year he did not beat anyone in the top 15, so if he wants  to raise his game, he has to try to mix it up, more, and also, to really push it.

29 Felix Auger-Aliassime
He played so good in the first half of the year, but then, in the summer, he faulted. Perhaps he was hurt, but he threw in some odd shots, so he was confused. He is a terrific player, yet he has to come back and improve with his return and also, at the net.

28 Sebastian Baez
He is pretty young, and the Argentine had some very good matches, on the clay. Certainly, he can grind it, but he still needs to snap  the ball, much deeper. If he can improve his forehand and close in the net, then next year, he might be able to burst into the top 20.

27 Lorenzo Musetti
There are so many young players who are trying to go further. The Italian is only 21-years-old, and he started pretty slow, but in Monte Carlo, he upset Novak Djokovic. That might have been his best, ever. After that, he beat more than a few good players, and he was rallying, for a long time. However, he did go into t he top 15 this year, but in the summer and the fall, he lost a lot of matches. Sure, he can enrich his one handed backhand, and  slice it, lower.    

26 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

The Spaniard its not as good as  the former No. 1 Rafa Nadal, but on the court, he can also hustle, a lot. He has not won a tournament ever, but the tough man did reach  the ATP 1000 in Monte Carlo last year. That was a great week, but in the last four months, he did win enough matches. Next year, he has to play much better, especially with his serve, and if he does, maybe he can upset the excellent competitor.

ATP Finals day 8: Novak Djokovic over Jannik Sinner

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic over Jannik Sinner

A few days ago, Jannik Sinner upset Novak Djokovic in three terrific sets. Before he started to play, he must have thought that when his forehand and his backhand could be super consistent, and to stay in there, and also, not to risk it all the time. In the third set, he knew that to win the contest, he has to changed it up. a lot. He certainly did, and he won it 7-6(2) in the third set in in Turin, Italy. He finally figured it out.

“It doesn’t really matter the matches before, how they have been. Especially with this format, you can win against one, but after you can lose. It’s different,” Sinner said. “But still happy that I can go one more time on the court here in Turin [Italy]. Good atmosphere. Hopefully I can show some good tennis.”

Djokovic occasionally can miss the ball, with his thoughts, but he will go for it, once again. He is a terrific return, and his backhand going cross-court is murders. On Saturday, he nailed Carlos Alcaraz  very quickly, out-hitting him in straight sets, with everything. At Wimbledon, in the semis on the grass, Djokovic beat Sinner in three sets. The Italian was erratic, in the match, but now, Djokovic thinks that Sinner has improved during the fall.  

“He just played a fantastic match. That’s what I told him at the net,” Djokovic said after the Italian beat him this week. “I think in the most important moments, he played his best game and he absolutely deserved to win.”

Sinner has gone deep over the past two years, with some wonderful days, but also, in the matches, he did some critically points. Djokovic can slip, here and there, but not much. Therefore, the No. 1 will win it again, beating Sinner 7-5, 6-7, 6-3. The that will be 98 titles by Djokovic. Talk about phenomenal.

ATP Finals day 7: Sinner over Medvedev, Djokovic over Alcaraz

Novak Djokovic
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Jannik Sinner over Daniil Medevev (written on Friday)

In Italy, Jannik Sinner is on fire, hitting some massive strokes. He has won all three in the ATP Finals, so clearly, he will have to rocking and rolling. However, he will face against Daniil Medvedev on Saturday, and the Russian has beaten him all six times. He edged him 7-6, 7-6 in Beijing, China in the final, last month, so the Italian was darn close, but now, he will have to change it up, or attack, earlier. He also lost against Medvedev in Vienna in the final, too, pushing him back in three tough sets.

“It’s obviously a little bit more pressure, but it is kind of a positive pressure. I like to be in this situation,” said Sinner. “I had never beaten Holger Rune and I it was clear that it was going to be a great battle. This is an important victory for me & I know I have a great opportunity to do something important on Saturday. I like to have some pressure.”.”

Medvedev has to, as the Russian realizes exactly way to go, to hit the right shots, and he can also pound it, point after point. He did win two matches, but against  Carlos Alcaraz, he looked fair, yet he needed to smash the ball, early. This time, though, he has beaten him a lot, so he might do the same things.    

“At this moment Sinner in top form. I felt like in Vienna I made a good response to what he did in Beijing, but I still lost. I need to be even better, to respond better to his shots.” said Medvedev

Anyone can lose for ever, against the best players, but once in a while, you can play tremendous, and stick in there.  This time, will finally snag it, and Sinner will win 5-7, 6-4, 6-4

Novak Djokovic over Carlos Alcaraz

Is this really true that Carlos Alcaraz spoke with his coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, when he was struggling this week, early, and current, he is happy again. That must be true as the former one time Roland Garros champion Ferrero looked very good for years, but also, he was depressed. However, he is pushing himself, and now, Alcaraz is understanding what to do.

 He has to, as he must face against the No. 1 Djokovic. That will be a huge challenger.

“I opened my eyes. This is the last tournament of the year and I have to give everything I have.We also spoke about the level and what I had to do,” Alcaraz said. “I realized that my game depends on whether or not I enjoy myself, whether or not I smile. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing for me. Obviously, the joy and the smile have returned to my game and I think that was reflected in the matches.”

He did and on Saturday, at night, Alcaraz  will have to play backhand to backhand, as the No. 1 is usually nearly perfect. They have played each other four times, mostly very close, and they have split each other. The Serbian beat him at Roland Garros, and then the Spaniard took him out at Wimbledon.

Also, Djokovic out-hit him in August, in Cincinnati, on the hardcourts. Alcaraz  realizes that to come into the net, when he can, and also, to return, respectably, then he will have another great chance to beat him.

“I’m going to try and find my A-game,” Alcaraz said.

Djokovic has lost a few times, this year, and his forehand could go off, but in the third set, he will raise his game, and he will win it 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.

ATP Finals begins in Turin, Italy

Jannik Sinner
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Both predictions were written before play started.

Jannik Sinner over Stefanos Tsitsipas
On Sunday, at the ATP Finals, two of them will start in the first match when  Jannik Sinner will face Stefanos Tsitsipas. It will play in Turin’s Pala Apitour, in Italia. It will be very interesting, during eight days, whether the court is respectable, and very intense.
Clearly, the No. 1 Novak Djokovic is favored, but he has lost once and a while, during the year, so any the seven players can play excellent, and up set him.

They will start though in the first match when the Italian, Sinner, will continue to rise even smarter. He has had a terrific fall, smashing his forehand, his backhand, and with his hard first serve.  However, the 22-year-old has beat Tsitsipas two times, but he also lost five times, so with the rallies, he has to much more consistent.

Yes, the Greek Tsitsipas has had a good, but not great year, but when he is healthy, he can really turn it on.

“Hopefully it’s something positive for me trying to have a great connection with the crowd and hopefully I can handle it and handle the situation with the right mentality, because I feel I have a little bit more pressure, which is a very positive sign for me,” Sinner said. “His strength is the serve and his high intensity. He puts a lot of intensity on the court.”

Tsitsipas  came so close to win a Grand Slam, but he has yet to do it. Perhaps, next year, he can improve at the net, and his return, with more depth. What he has done, though, it when he is locked in, he can bash the ball, point after point. Four years ago, in 2019, he won  the  ATP Finals champion in London, and he played tremendous. He has to do it again, quickly. The 25-year-old, Tsitsipas, thinks that Sinner has matured, a lot.

“He tends to play very fearless tennis and he moves very well,” said Tsitsipas. “He has improved his movement a lot and his consistency in his shots. I do believe that he’s a very athletic player. Not very [muscular], not very heavy. He has that lightness about him when he covers the court. He has very good abilities and talent when it comes to feeling the ball and getting behind it.”

Sinner won’t try to do that, however, in Italy, on the court, he might be extremely nervous, to start. But he does know that when he can really focus, and really control it, then in the third set, be will attack on the lines. Sinner will win it 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
 
Novak Djokovic over Holger Rune
It is hard to say whether Rune is feeling healthy on the court. Without a doubt, when he is feeling really terrific, and then he can control it, and mix it up, too. However, Djokovic knows almost everything, and he has played for many, many years. He has beaten everyone, the top players, time and time again. However, they have played each other four times, and Djokovic and Rune split it.

In Paris, he beat him 6-4 in the third in the quarters against Rune. He looked pretty good, as on the clay and the grass, the 20-year-old Dane won some impressive matches, but on the hard courts, he skidded. He is still getting better, this year, and his return and his first serve needs to improve, but his backhand is fantastic.

He will jump up and down, and try to attach with his heavy forehand, but Djokovic is still better, and he will win it 6-3, 6-4.

The WTA Finals: Jessica Pegula over Iga Swiatek

Jessica Pegula
Rick Limpert

When Iga Swiatek is running, and she catches it, she will bend down, a little bit, and then she will make an attempt to kiss it in the lines. Sometimes, she will be patient, but when she sees that she can attack it, and knock it  on the lines.

She beat the No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka 6-3, 6-2, as she knew that if she could blast her  forehand and her backhand, she was comfortable. Her first serve were close on the lines, and also, she mixed it up. Swiatek has had a very interesting year, when she was beating everyone, but when she was mentally down, and she became pretty frustrated. However, in Cancun, she totally locked in.

However, on Monday, she has to face against Jessica Pegula, who easily beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-1. The last time in Montreal in the semis, she beat Swiatek. The American is playing much better, as the same time in 2022 at the WTA Final, she lost all three matches. Incredibly, this week, she actually won three matches, punching past set after set.

Swiatek knows that she has to play point after point.

“Jessie (Pegula) is a great player, and she fully deserves to be in the final of any tournament,” Swiatek said. “I know it’s not going to be easy. There’s a lot to think about. I’m just going to focus on myself tomorrow. She’s really solid and can handle everything mentally. I’ll try to do my best and give 100%. That’s all I can do.”

Pegula has won two 1000 big titles, in Guadalajara, and Montreal. Plus, two weeks ago, she won Seoul. As she says, she is purchasing power.

“I managed to get my act together at the end of the year,” Pegula said. “I’ve done a good job of resetting coming here. It’s not fun leaving (at the 2022 WTA Finals in Fort Worth) 0-6. I’m glad I’ve turned the tables. I found a way to make it work. I’m feeling confident going into the finals.”

She has to be, as Swiatek will try to mover her forehand, and jump on the second serve. Pegula  has really improved going down the lines, and she is also when she is on the net.  

Swiatek is ranked No. 2, but if she beats Pegula, she will become No.1 again. However, the American will not fold, early, but in the third set, it will be very tight. This time, Pegula will hit some amazing forehands down the line, and she will win it 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.

NOTES

Here he was again, as Novak Djokovic won another ATP 1000, when he beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-3 in Paris. That is now he has won 40 ATP 1000s. Talk about a record. He backhand is nearly perfect, crosscourt, down the line, in the middle, flat and spin. Last week he won it against some very good players, but he was comfortable to handle it. He did, and now he will go to the ATP Finals in Turin, Italy.  

He is No. 1, and when it finishes, maybe can catch Carlos Alcaraz, but he is way ahead. The Spaniard has to win all five matches, and Djokovic has to win none. That is almost impossible, but really, it is more important who can actually win the tournament. Or to play each other, then that will be a fascinating match. Later this week, we can talk about the other six players who will play, such as Daniil Medvedev, Jannik Sinner, Andrey Rublev and more.

Sabalenka: “I think the best season in my life so far”

Aryna Sabalenka
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Jessica Pegula finally played terrific at the WTA Finals, beating the intense player, Elena Rybakina in two sets. However, on Tuesday she has to face against the No. 1, Aryna Sabalenka, who crushed Maria Sakkari.

They have played each other five times, and Sabalenka beat her four times, mostly on the clay, but at this tournament last year, she beat her 6-3, 7-5 on the hard courts. The Belarussian also really likes on the hard courts, winning the Australian Open. Her forehand and her backhand are massive, and her return is super aggressive. However, she can get frustrated on the court, over hitting the ball, and not coming into the net. She can be a brilliant player, but also, she can check out in the third set, occasionally.

Pegula believes that when she can go for it, and also to risk it, rather than just to put it on play, then she can actually grab a lot of winners. Years ago, she was decent, but she wasn’t been able to out-hit against the top players. Now she is, and to win this match, she has to change it up more, and push her into the wall.

Sabalenka knows that she has to be patient, and to jump it when she is returning. As she said, two days ago: “It’s just super great season, I think the best season in my life so far. Hopefully this is just the beginning: with every year I’ll play better and better. I use this year as a motivation for me to keep working hard, to keep pushing, and see where is my limit are. ”
Sabalenka will make some odd error, but towards at the end, she will hit some massive first sets and she will win it 4-6, 6-3, 6-3

Surpassingly, Rybakina did now play well enough on Sunday against Pegula, when she lost. Yes, the American was so consistent, but the 2022 Wimbledon champ has had a solid year, but she only won one ever, in Rome. She certainly has beaten all the top players, but her forehand can be spotty. The Russian Rybakina is a huge hitter, and she can return pretty well, but if she wants to win another huge event, then she has to raise quickly.

Sakkari is one of the best rallies, hitting hour after hour. She can be so steady, but she plays all the time, and in the fall, she looks very tired. Yes, she does want to show that she is still there, in the matches, but she is not hitting the ball deep enough, which is why Rybakina will win the match 6-4, 6-1.

Notes: the women and men

On Monday, two of the former champs, Coco Gauff and Iga Swiatek, won easily, so they are in it.

In Paris, Taylor Fritz won a match, and he said that his body is so-so. If he wins a couple matches, then he has a solid chance to play in the ATP Finals. Or maybe not:

“It’s something that’s been bothering me for a little bit… I didn’t think it was anything too bad going in [to this match], but one where I slid out and sliced that forehand, I felt like I did something that I had never done to it before,” said Fritz. “Like maybe I tore something or pulled it. So I’m going to have to get it checked out and see what’s going on.”

The other American, Tommy Paul, won a marathon, beating Richard Gasquet 0-6, 6-2, 7-6(6). He has to win the tournament to qualify, but it is almost impossible. But at least he will try…

He may be ranked No. 7. but last year in Paris, Holger Rune won it, but now he is defending 1,000 points. He does have a chance to qualify, but he has to go very deep to do it again. He has not played very well since Wimbledon, so he is going to have to recover, immediately. Rune is only 20-years-old, so over the next couple years he will get better, here and there, but he has to think about it all of the time. They all must do.

Grigor Dimitrov over Andrey Rublev in Shanghai semifinal

Grigor Dimitrov

Ten years ago in Brisbane, Australia, Grigor Dimitrov won the tournament, and he said that soon, not only can he beat anyone, but he can win a Grand Slam. He hasn’t yet, but the 32-year-old still has a chance, a small one, but something.

In Shanghai, he has reached into the semis, after beating Carlos Alcaraz  and Nicolas Jarry with some powerful strokes.

In 2017,  Dimitrov was locked in, at times, and he won Cincinnati 1000, as well as the ATP Finals in London. His confidence is rising, at least this week.

“I don’t think I did anything crazy in those moments, I just kept on believing in my game, kept going after my shots. I was trying to apply pressure with the hope that [Jarry]  might make a few mistakes, and he did,” Dimitrov said.

However, the Bulgarian will face against Andrey Rublev on Saturday. He could win, and he travels a lot, country to country, yet when he is on, he can move it around, all over the place, but also, his return is so-so. Plus his one harder with his backhand can be terrific, but Dimitrov will miss it, and to short. But he really likes to talk, off-court, which is good.

“[Beating Alcaraz] helps confidence-wise, but also it was just another match, if you think about it,” said Dimitrov. “I didn’t have much time to overthink it, I just had a little bit of a chat with the team and tried to see what I did pretty good, what worked, what didn’t, and what I could do better in the next round.  We didn’t have much time to think about that but of course I take all the positives out of it because you need to feed off this every single round.”  

If he beats Rublev and he reaches the final in the ATP 1000, it will be six years since his last final appearance at that level. That is a very long time.

Dimitrov over Rublev
Rublev looks terrific when he is playing very well, with his potent forehand and his backhand, But he can also blow it. However, in April on the clay, he won Monte-Carlo. Yes, just like everyone, he wants to win a Grand Slam, but how about this, win another at the ATP 1000, and then most people would think that in 2024, he can win a major. Dimitrov will grab it 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 over Rublev.

That was an incredible match when Seb Korda beat the other American Ben Shelton 6-7(10), 6-2, 7-6(6) to reach the semis. In the breaker, in the third set, it was a toss-up, but he hit some solid, deep, shots, and he won it. The two young players will face each other for a longish  time. Or not, as it depends who will go deep a lot. Sort of like Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal.

Korda will play versus Hubert Hurkacz, who has had a solid year, especially on the hard courts. At the Australian Open, in the fourth round, he lost against Korda 7-6(6) in the fifth set. What a crazy game. Now they will play each other again, on Saturday, and without a doubt, Hurkacz will hit so many aces. He can crack the ball, but the tall Polish person is is not running that fast. But two and a half years ago, he won Miami, and he did everything. However, in Shanghai, China, he will over-hit, and Korda will win it 5-7, 7-6 (3), 7-5.