Dimitrov . . .
I said in my preview that Djokovic should beat the Bulgarian “easily.” I actually used that adverb to describe how the beating would occur. They were 4-4 in the first, Djokovic held, and we all watched Dimitrov, literally, hand Djokovic the set from there. He went down 0-40, got it back to 30-40, a point on which Djokovic looked silly, and actually got a little frustrated, only to have Grigor DF badly on that third SP.
Ladies and gentlemen, that’s what we call a gift in tennis. I left to go to work at that point. I’m surprised Dimitrov even won a game in the second set.
Do you recall the little repartee between me and a reader here about Dimitrov v Kyrgios? This was several months ago.
A reader wondered how I would say Kyrgios is more talented than Dimitrov. Folks, Dimitrov is a massive waste of tennis talent. My claim (that Kyrgios dwarfs the Bulgarian) might be more clear to some of you at this point, with Nick continuing to advance in London while Dimitrov can’t manage any sort of surge what-so-ever. A first set TB would have counted as a “surge” in my book. The guy is feckless.
Kyrgios, healthy, is always a threat. I still think his immaturity will get the best of him, especially in Bo5, but he is, for me, head-and-shoulders above Dimitrov. Remember, too: they’re 23 and 27, respectively.
Djokovic, meanwhile, seems to be finding that form we’ve waited a long time to see. He has a clear shot to the final here in London, so the Serb will have a nice opportunity to go into Wimbledon raging with that confidence for which he’s famous.
The top-half of the draw should provide a suitable challenger in the final against Novak.
The only other question, beyond who that is, is how beat-up that challenger will be. Let’s say we roll the dice and call the top SF Cilic v Kyrgios? If that’s a 3 hour war, Djokovic will be in great shape to claim a consequential title (and accompanying pre-WB confidence). A relatively fresh Marin or Nick could give us all kinds of grass drama in that final. Let’s pull for that.
I am not discounting Sam or Feliciano. . . Okay, I am. Both can play beautiful grass tennis, and Lopez is, actually, the defending champ! He could absolutely out-class Nick in that QF. But Kyrgios and his 30+ aces today, along with his Stuttgart run, a modicum of health to buoy his 2018 grass campaign: I have to give the nod to the Aussie.
Cilic looks to becoming a bit rampant as we speak. He’s a legitimate top 5 player and wants, of course, to climb even higher.
Which brings us back to Dimitrov. He is not a legitimate top 5 talent, especially as some of the injured are finding their ways back to the competition.
Federer Escapes in Halle
I said Federer should cruise but I certainly referenced the potential for difficulty with Benoit Paire (“Paire has all kinds of skill, but Federer should advance and the rest of that draw doesn’t look very intimidating.”). He has maybe the 2nd or 3rd best THBH in the world. And I love his serve, such a natural motion. But that FH of his and the nerves of maybe upsetting a world #1 got to him.
I rooted for him in the upset-filled TB. Federer looked like he needed a sandwich and some strong words from Ljubičić, who made the trip. Federer looks a little vulnerable here and there. I said the same last week yet he hung-on, survived.
Like the Nadal dominance, I think the Bo5 benefits Roger, even though you might think his age undermines this kind of fitness. I disagree. His is not the most brutal style-of-play and he knows how to go long. Obviously.
Going into Wimbledon #2 in the world, coming off a loss like this, would not have been the end of the world for Federer. Playing with a little urgency and caution might sharpen his edge, especially with Ivan the terrible barking these kinds of reminders or orders at his charge.
I mentioned in last night’s post the real contenders at Wimbledon, the ones to really bother Federer if we want to crown him as odds-on favorite. I mentioned Cilic, Raonic (if healthy), Djokovic, Nadal, Kyrgios (if healthy) and Del Potro.
I read an article today where they have Djokovic’s declaration of the best challengers to Federer at WB.
By the way, is it just me or are these Metro articles (by their tennis guy Bellshaw) pretty soft or what? I don’t see the difference really between these and your basic tabloid garbage. A quote out-of-context and a bunch of advertisement.
Did Djokovic really say that? First of all, there’s some suspicion that Murray doesn’t play WB (although maybe that came from one of those tabloidy garbage-mongers). He may not be ready for Bo5. And Querrey? Maybe Djokovic senses something I don’t. If Sam beats Cilic and then Kyrgios to make the Queen’s Club final, you got me, Novak.
And Dimitrov? Hahahahahaha. I can’t purchase any of that stock; I’m sorry.
As important as grass court skills are in this up-coming major, so is the sheer ability to compete and go five sets. That’s why, unless he’s injured — and I know there’s been whispers — Del Potro makes the list; he was a semi-finalist there in 2013.
And Kyrgios. His, again, 30+ aces today along with his ability to come to net, finish points, and maintain some creativity around the court, make him dangerous here. And Raonic. He’s been in the final, been a semi-finalist and he looked good last week. But of course health is critical with the Canadian.
Look, leave the prognostication to me, Novak. You just work on that grass form. We certainly like what we see on that end. 😀