Federer Will Look Into Mirror Friday When He Faces Dimitrov In Basel
by Sean Randall | October 24th, 2013, 11:04 pm

It’s just a quarterfinal at the Basel ATP 250 500 event, but you could make the case that Friday is Grigor Dimitrov’s biggest day of his tennis career. The young 22-year-old Bulgarian with the near-identical strokes to one Roger Federer will finally play Mr. Federer.

Much like when Federer beat Sampras a decade ago in Pete’s backyard at Wimbledon and the “torch” was passed, Dimitrov gets his shot at the “man” tomorrow. It’s Fed v. Baby Fed!

At 32 Roger is no longer Roger as we know while Dimitrov, ten years the junior to the Swiss, is blossoming – he just won his first career title last weekend in Stockholm – and likely will be ahead of Federer in the rankings by this time next year. Yet with their similar, er identical, games (same serve, same forehand, save backhand, same movements, same build, same clothing/racquet sponsor, etc), Federer’s desire to hang on and not to lose to a mirror of himself, it’s simply a tantalizing matchup. Young v. Old. New School v. Old School. Student v Mentor, and on and on.

“I’ve always wanted to play [Federer],” said Dimitrov. “He’s the greatest. He’s given opportunity to so many players and has brought so much to the game. Everyone wants to be part of that. I’m excited and looking forward to our match.”

And I think a lot of people have waited a long time to see this one, myself included. After consecutive wins in the first two rounds, Federer had a day off Thursday to work out any kinks that have plagued his game for much of the year. It’s doubtful he had enough time to accomplish that cleanup, but Roger will benefit from the Basel support, the comfort of indoors and of course his experience.

“It’s an amazing atmosphere for me to play in,” Federer said about playing at home. “As a kid I was always thinking about Wimbledon and Basel. For me those were the two great things. It’s important to never forget that dream. It’s the dream I have been chasing after since I was a kid.”

And I think the crowd will be the difference. Dimitrov, who’s arguably the better pound-for-pound player right now, I think will feel the jitters. Grigor’s a nervous lad anyway – he seems to cramp often – and playing Federer in Basel won’t ease the butterflies.

Plus, Roger doesn’t want to lose to someone who copied his game, not in Basel, not in their first meeting! (And he needs to make up for the Gstaad debacle!)

So if I had to pick I think Roger goes down early but comes back to win a close one here.

The Federer match will go on about 2pm ET. Because of the WTA Championships, Tennis Channel will not have it live.

In other matches, top seed Juan Martin Del Potro is also in action as is young Canadian Vasek Pospisil.

Over in Valencia, David Ferrer and Nicolas Alamgro lead the way. The top-seeded Ferrer who’s really struggled since Wimbledon meets Jerzy Janowicz in a good one. Jerzy ended John Isner’s London hopes earlier today.

Speaking of London, with Richard Gasquet losing early in Basel it looks like Federer will get the sixth spot. That leaves the last two up for grabs among Wawrinka, Gasquet and Tsonga. And it will come down to Paris next week. If had to pick I think Stan gets bumped by the Frenchmen.

CENTER COURT start 14:00
E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs D Brands (GER)

Not Before 16:00
I Dodig (CRO) vs V Pospisil (CAN)

Not Before 18:00
[1] J Del Potro (ARG) vs [Q] P Mathieu (FRA)

Not Before 20:00
[8] G Dimitrov (BUL) vs [3] R Federer (SUI)
[3] M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) vs L Dlouhy (CZE) / P Hanley (AUS)

GORA start 13:00
J Nieminen (FIN) vs M Youzhny (RUS)
D Tursunov (RUS) vs J Chardy (FRA)
[1] D Ferrer (ESP) vs [5] J Janowicz (POL)

Not Before 20:00
[3] N Almagro (ESP) vs [7] F Fognini (ITA)
J Isner (USA) / F Lopez (ESP) vs [2] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA)

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Nadal Denies Dimitrov In Basel, Federer Faces Kohlschreiber Thursday; Ferrer Withdraws From Valencia
Del Potro Joins Federer In London Final, Basel Quarterfinals; Almagro Faces Top Seed Ferrer In Valencia
ATP London Race (20 Oct 14): Murray Moves Ahead; Federer Looks To Close No. 1 Gap In Basel
Roger Federer Rolls In Basel Opener; Rafael Nadal v Grigor Dimitrov Wednesday

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69 Comments for Federer Will Look Into Mirror Friday When He Faces Dimitrov In Basel

Annegc1 Says:

Dimitrov with higher rank than Federer in one year? Really?
You must be kidding!
By the way Basel has been an ATP 500 for a few years already…

Annegc1 Says:

And did you watch last matchs of Gasquet, Wawrinka and especially Tsonga before assuming tha French players will be in London and not Wawrinka?

Annegc1 Says:

Gstaadt dΓ©bacle? He was injuried… And couldn’t even run… But he tried to play because that was in his country. He has nothing to make up…

Perfect fan Says:

@ Sean Randall:

Has basel been degraded to 250 from 500….since when pal??….never heard recently though :(

BTW, I m really looking forward to this match b/n “FED at twilight” & “Baby-Fed on a rising” plus a first timer….Whoooooooaaaaa !!

al Says:

Darth Federer: “I… am… your… father.”

Steve 27 Says:

Baby steps for Dimitrov

Pav Says:

aide Grisho, s teb sme!! Come on Grisho!!

Michael Says:

I think they have not met before and so it is going to be interesting. Roger facing his clone who plays much similar like him. Dmitrov should consider himself lucky to meet Roger who is at the twilight of his career and is playing much below his level. So, there is lot of opportunities for Dmitrov to exploit Roger’s decline to his own advantage.

Giles Says:

Fed will win easily. He is after all the more experienced player.Maybe fed can teach him a thing or two.

Brando Says:

I fancy Grigor to win this one. He’s the form player and shot for shot right now is the better player also. I think it all depends on his mental composure: should he stay solid then I think he’ll get the win. I’m getting carried away here but IF he were to win Basel via beating Fed, Delpo then it would be a game changing event going into 2014. The kid’s got the game, talent and it seems like it’s starting to come together for him. Good for him and the game!

hawkeye Says:

BabyFed facing his idol will be like a deer in the headlights.

TMF in two.

Perfect fan Says:

@ BRANDO: I too feel that if Grigor engages fed in longer rallies….i’ll go for the former.

Fed has to rely on his 1st serve and to win more cheap points….but still one thing that goes in the favour of Fed is the “HYPE”. Whenever, a lot of hype is created before the expected match (esp with a blooming player involved)….fed does play at his best.

But its always easy to speculate….lets wait out to see wat happens.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Im hoping for a win for Roger,i think he needs a good run to build up some momentum,unfortunatly i have to head off for work now,so i wont see the match,so good luck Roger.

MMT Says:

There are significant differences in their games:

First, Dimitrov plays further behind the baseline than Federer, which means he defends more and attacks less – this will hurt him on faster surfaces, but help him on slower ones. Today, advantage Federer.

Second, Federer’s topspin backhand is flatter and the stroke production is tighter than Dimitrov’s, and vastly more consistent (although both their finishes are often exaggerated). Dimitrov will give many more errors coming over the backhand, and frankly Dimitrov’s can be isolated a little more easily than Federer’s. (Advantage Federer)

However, since Dimitrov is a couple of inches taller (making his optimal strike zone 3-5 inches higher), he is able to handle more spin and height to that wing on slower surfaces. Dimitrov’s slice is one-dimensional and defensive – Federer can use his more constructively (advantage Federer).

Federer is a better volleyer, but Dimitrov has more range (this one is a wash – I don’t think either will be volleying much, and the both have outstanding overheads).

But the serve – there is no comparison. Aside from jumping into the stroke (as opposed to stepping in) Federer brings his racquet head straight up, has a more consistent toss, higher first serve percentage AND (most importantly) is still in the top 5 of service games won on tour – THIS YEAR. Also (very important) Federer is balanced after his serve and (almost) always ready for the next shot.

On the other hand Dimitrov’s toss is all over the place, he delays bringing the racquet head up (to a fault – remember in Indian Wells against Djokovic when he missed 5 first serves in a row, and then brought the racquet head up BEFORE the toss – a la Jay Berger – just to get it in?). Because of this inconsistent toss, after his serve, he lands with less balance and consistency. Dimitrov is taller, so has more pace but NOWHERE near the accuracy, and if you watch carefully he can land anywhere from a foot to his right or his left, depending on the toss, which is also everywhere – and coincidentally he gets broken a lot more than Federer. (Advantage Federer)

The forehand construction is almost the same – they even used the same grip and dip the racquet head forward as they bring it back. Both hit with a lot of spin on that wing, but I would say Federer’s is just a little flatter, whereas Dimitrov actually has a little better hand-eye coordination (if that’s possible) because his forehand has just that little bit more delayed wrist action than Federer, more spin, but every bit as (if not at this moment more) consistent.

I think Federer is going to win this in straight sets – as Sean mentioned, if he’s true to form, he’ll gag the first set away, and if the second is tight, it will be hard to avoid straight sets. His only chance is if he can win the first – then I think he can take it in 3 – but I don’t see Federer losing in straight sets – too much experience and nerves working in his favor.

But I’ll be watching…

hawkeye Says:

TMF has had a day off between each of his first three rounds.

BabyFed was up past his bedtime last night.

Advantage TMF!!!! Allez!!!!!!

Giles Says:

Don’t know where else to post this article
Maric Cilic ban reduced, will be playing in Paris next week.

Okiegal Says:

I would like to see Fed win this one…….a win might put a little more pep in his step. He has had his struggles of late…..I think the back issue has been the reason for this.

Rafa fan here…..hoping for a Fed win.

Perfect fan Says:

Thanx Sean for correcting it…. :-)

SG1 Says:

One wonders if a 19 year old Dimitrov could have beaten an over the hill Sampras at Wimbledon. I guess we’ll never know.

madmax Says:

I can’t believe this is the first time these two guys have met? Are we sure about this, for some reason I thought it was their second meeting? May be I was mixing this up with Dolgopolov.

Anyway, of course Federer should win this but anything is possible the way he is playing at the moment. Consistency is not his forte right now, but even so, he SHOULD win and I hope that he does.

What an honour for Grigor though in his career. He has often talked in interviews, when he was younger about having Fed on the wall of his bedroom and how one day he hoped to be as good as he is.

Now, he gets his chance. Am a bit jittery if I am honest.

hawkeye Says:

Bastl beat Sampras at Wimby in the 2nd round just a year after TMF beat him.

If Bastl did it, so could BabyFed.

madmax Says:


this is true and anything can happen with fed right now. We all know that.

Josh39485 Says:

Come on, Roger! Please at least make it to Saturday – I hardly ever get to see you play nowadays

Brando Says:

Fed a set up.

Grigor seems overawed by it all, very nervous out here.

Brando Says:

Fed a set up.

Josh39485 Says:

@Brando No wonder he’s overawed, he’s playing You Know Who in his own backyard in front of a very partisan crowd. Maybe he’ll step up in the 2nd set. He had several chances to break in the first Federer service game, but couldn’t get it done.

courbon Says:

@ Brando: How you doing?
I just seen that Vasek Popsil made to another QF.While we are all watching Jerzy, Grigor and Raonic as potential next champions ( much less Tomic these days ) maybe this guy is getting there first? He is doing good progress in every tournament this year. And he is young. What’s your take? Have you seen him play? ( I did not seen him yet apart from doubles and he’s got good serve )

Peter Says:

where are you guys watching this?

Brando Says:


He’s got a break and held it now though.

I have to say:

This is the first time I have tuned into a Basel match and I do like the atmosphere here.

Really fair and sporting.

Brando Says:


Hi there C. I’m all good, you?

Re Jerzy:

Yeah, I saw the end of the 2nd and first 4 games of the 3rd set, very disappointing from him.

Just when I thought he’d roll on and atleast make the 3rd a close set, he ends up being bageled.

Very poor stuff from him.

Re Vasek:

Have not seem him play yet, but this is his 3rd SF of the year: he’s improving it seems.


The young guns like Grigor, Jerzy have alot of talent like Novak, Andy did at that age (I omit Rafa since like Borg he was a winning sensation from a scarily early age).

But they seem to be way, way more mentally weak and nervous than those guys even at that age.

Nole- of course- was a slam winner at age 20, and Andy posted good results early in his career also.

I think these guys need Rafa, Andy, Novak to be in the 29/30 age bracket before they can kick on since i’m not too sure that they are mentally strong enough to knock them off the top.

The talent is there: but that counts for about 20% off it all.

Mental strength and work ethic matters more: i’m not too sure they have got it………….yet.

Brando Says:

Huge hold by Grigor there: up 4-2 here.

Brando Says:

Grigor nervous here, got lucky on BP there: deuce.

madmax Says:

does anyone have a live stream to the basle match?tried fromsports.com and nothing.

Brando, how is fed looking? Weak? Tired? Is he going to do it? Is grigor too strong?

Brando Says:

3 set points go begging for Grigor. This next game is huge for him now.

madmax Says:

keep the commentating up brando, I am following you.

Brando Says:

@Max: Fed’s looking….quiet. He’s playing streaky stuff: genius one point, pauper next. His attacking game is still ace though, just defense is not the same. Grigor’s choking helps here though….

Brando Says:

And a double fault gives Fed 2 BP, Rog goes attacking on the first goes long with a FH, grigor seemingly has the next point won and misses a easy over head. Level on serve here.

Brando Says:

Fed seems more steady now. Side note: his FH has been pretty good in the main today.

Brando Says:

And he hits a gorgeous FH winner to go 40-15 up

Brando Says:

Fed holds, leads 6-5: his FH was really solid in that game on key points.

Josh39485 Says:

Just hope he can win the set and get it done.

serve-voly Says:

yes brando, keep on. thanks. camon fed, dimitrov is just fancy, nothing else. don’t slice to much.

Brando Says:

0-15 as GD goes wide with a FH, next point he rushes to the et and Fed hits a sweet FH 0-30,

Brando Says:

It’s 40-30 to GD, but he misses a certain FH. Deuce….

Brando Says:

Adv Dimitrov: excellent deep 2nd serve draws error and he holds when Fed etta with a FH….. Tie break

Josh39485 Says:

Ooh, almost there – please don’t throw this away…

Brando Says:

1-0 Fed

Brando Says:

Bravo return by Fed, draws error from GD. 2-0 Fed

Brando Says:

Excellent serve put wide, Fed 3-1 up

Brando Says:

Back to back deep FH from Fed draws a net error by GD. Swiss up 4-1

Brando Says:

Make it 5-1 fed with a great slice return on BH has GD netting on a dipping ball on the FH side

Brando Says:

4 MPS for Roger….

Brando Says:

He wins with a serve down the middle that GD nets on return. Fed smiles: well done to him and congrats to his fans.

Josh39485 Says:

Yes! At last, Federer makes a semi-final, in a terrible year for him (and for fans) where nothing was guaranteed.

Brando Says:

A up and down match, Fed did struggle at times but he dug deep and his FH really was a consistent shot for him at times, especially near the end.

Josh39485 Says:

@Brando Thanks a bunch for spending time and commentating :D Is your man playing Paris?

Brando Says:

Fed v Popsi next

madmax Says:

Oh Brando!

Thank you so, so much! I have been busy trying to find a link and couldn’t :(

Your description has been just great and my heart got very warm when I saw 4 MP!

God! About time! Semi final. At last!

Thank you Brando!

Brando Says:

@Josh: no worries:-) I think Rafa is, I’m off now…. My stomachs roaring for a meal!p

Josh39485 Says:

Edit: Just checked – looks like he is. And looks like a reasonable draw with Tsonga in the Quarters, Berdych/Ferrer in semis and Djoko/Del Potro in the final.

courbon Says:

and Brando just got contract with ESPN for brilliant commenting during the match…

Perfect fan Says:

Great win frm fed today….I liked his temperament the most today….stayed positive even when a serve down in the sec set.

Dimitrov did played well….but still needs to learn a lot in handling pressure situations….no wonder, he is called baby-fed. Though time is on his side to flourish.

Roger….no big deal till the finals. Just keep going!!

Brando Says:

@ Madmax: no worries!:-) you’ll be happy to know that when on the offense- in the main- I thought Fed was timing his shots rather well, especially on the FH side. He seemed solid and consistent on that swing. His slice was also impressive. He needs to improve his 1st serve in and his defense though: even there though his footwork was pretty spritely. Be merry: he improved ALOT on the last I saw of him!:-)

Gaurav Says:

What a retarded article. From start to finish.

Likely be ranked higher than Fed next year!!?? Are you kidding me!?

The better pound for pound player right now!!? What universe are you watching tennis in?

Anyhoo, your predictions just got quashed. No surprises there.

courbon Says:

@ Brando: Agree.They are not ready mentally yet.Give them a year or two maybe…

Brando Says:

@Courbon: LMAO re Espn comment. I agree with you re needing 2 more years. I’ll talk with you later C, just got to eat now. I’ll check out Popsi v Fed tommorow, I’ll give you my take on him then……

courbon Says:

@ Brando: Bon apetitte

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Just filled out my bracket for Paris,i hope everyone else is going to join in too?really looking forward to it as i missed the last one unfortunatly.

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