A couple of good matches are lined up Friday in Basel. Five-time tournament champion – and favorite to win a sixth – Roger Federer meets his younger doppelganger Grigor Dimitrov. Rafael Nadal is also in quarterfinal action against rising star Borna Coric.
Federer dropped the first to Denis Istomin today before recovering to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. I was able to only catch the first set, a set in which Federer looked pretty flat and listless.
“I thought I was lacking rhythm in the first set,” said Federer. “[Istomin] played well. It was one of those sets that was tough to lose but the important thing was to bounce back in the second set and get my teeth into the match.”
Dimitrov had no troubles hammering Vasek Pospisil 6-2. 6-2 to set up the meeting with his boss, Mr. Federer (Dimitrov not only plays like Federer on the court, he’s represented by his company!).
The two met a year ago in this very round in Basel with Federer winning in straights. And odds are I think we’ll see a similar result – I don’t think Dimitrov wants to beat Federer on his home soil.
“I won’t do anything differently from what I did last year,” said Dimitrov. “I just want to go out there and see what I’ve learned since the last time we played. I am going to go out there and play my game and try to win.”
So Federer gets one rising star, Nadal gets another in Coric. Just 17, Coric beat Ernests Gulbis and today knocked out Andrey Golubev to reach his second career ATP quarterfinal. The kid’s an excellent talent – moves well, hits it clean, good serve. Therefore against Nadal I expect a good match, and so does the Croat who idolizes Rafa.
“I played very well in both matches,” said Coric today. “I’m very happy with my game. I wasn’t getting nervous. It really feels good and it’s going to help me with my ranking. It’s a huge step for me.
“I think it’s going to be a great match. He’s an unbelievable tennis player. It’s a privilege to play against him. I hope I can play as best as I can and we’ll see what happens.”
Also, Milos Raonic meets David Goffin in another good one.
In Valencia, Andy Murray and David Ferrer continue to chase London berths, and both won today in straight sets. Ferrer beat countryman Fernando Verdasco while Murray rolled Fabio Fognini.
Tomorrow, Murray meets Kevin Anderson, Ferrer faces Tomaz Bellucci.
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