Going through the highlights of this match was a drag for me. There was one… exactly ONE interesting point and that’s the one where Troicki hits a tweener. As exciting as that point was, it was a microcosm of this match in general. Here’s a breakdown of some of the key elements that defined the Victor (no pun intended) and the vanquished. If you wanna checkout the highlights, you can do so by clicking here.
1.) Errors: Yes, both these guys threw in their fair share of unforced errors, but Troicki was the more giving player in the end. Dimitrov needs to clean up his act before his next match, and for good reason too. He’ll be facing his idol, Roger Federer. They’ve met three times on tour. Three time’s Federer’s grabbed the win, each one being easier than the last. Dimitrov… I see a double bagel in your future. Kidding.
2.) Playing Style: One of the benefits of modeling your game after the great Swiss star’s game is – if you are doing it right – that you get to have a very diverse toolkit at your disposal. Dimitrov, despite the lack of results to back it up, has a very diverse game and can hit a dizzying array of spectacular shots within the same rally, talk less of an entire match. He used this well in bamboozling Troicki and taking the Serbian out of his comfort zone time and time again. Troicki is a watered down version, and one dimensional version of Djokovic. He moves decently, and hits a clean flat ball. Such an average game can do damage on occasion (it almost did in this match) but diversity usually has the upper hand. It did today.
3.) Aggressive Attacks: Dimitrov is nowhere near Federer in terms of his level of controlled aggressiveness, but he is up there. His frequent charges to the forecourt were enough to earn him enough free points to edge his nose ahead of Troicki in this dogfight. You can chalk it up to variety as well, but it was more than that. It was a willingness to hit through the ball on both wings and take the forecourt away, whenever possible. He might not look as catlike as Fed looks all the time, but it was very effective in this match.
All in all, Dimitrov was good enough… or not as horrible enough to lose today. I’d like to add that I do tire of seeing Dimitrov lay emphasis on hitting a pretty ball rather than winning. Federer has often said he never set out to win pretty. It’s just a natural by-product of his game. He always wanted to win in a sport he loves. I don’t get the same vibe with Dimitrov. Sure he wants to win and he often talks about that, but I think he tries too hard to win pretty. On many occasions during a match, I’ve caught him ‘ball watching’ and I almost want to scream “Stop admiring your shots man and play!!”. This I think is the major difference between the Bulgarian, and Federer. It’s the difference between being the king of the hotshot reel and the king of the slams.