Dimitrov Reportedly Testing New Head Racket in Rotterdam

Alleged picture of Dimitrov's new Head Racket. Photo via: Chiara Gambuzza

Alleged picture of Dimitrov’s new Head Racket. Photo via: Chiara Gambuzza

Grigor Dimitrov played his first round match in Rotterdam with a blacked out racket that bears a lot of similarities to a Head frame. After struggling for much of the match, Dimitrov regrouped to defeat Paul-Henri Mathieu in three sets, 4-6 7-6(2) 6-2.

Dimitrov has been testing new rackets for some time now; he was playing with a blacked out Wilson frame in Paris-Bercy last year and then again at the Australian Open in January. Pictured above is Dimitrov’s Head racket reportedly getting strung from December of 2014. Rumors had been swirling of a switch to Head, but when Dimitrov showed up in Melbourne with a Wilson stencil many of those rumors were quieted.

However, in Rotterdam, Dimitrov had no stencil on the racket, and the design of the frame and grommets appears very similar to a Head frame.  More specifically, the rackets bears many resemblances to the Head Prestige line, which is historically one of the most popular players frames.

Dimitrov’s blacked out Racket has no wilson stencil. Photo via: Marcos Zugasti

Dimitrov is no stranger to the feel of a Head racket. He played with one throughout his Junior career as well as his early pro years.

Dimitrov in Rotterdam  2009 with Head Racket

Dimitrov in Rotterdam 2009 with Head Racket

The head size of Dimitrov’s racket appears to be 98 sq. inches, and the string pattern is 16×19. Roger Federer’s switch to the larger head size has garnered much attention from both the media and fellow players. Dimitrov, whose game is remarkably similar to the Swiss great, may just well be taking a page out of Federer’s book. The two players practice together often and surely Dimitrov was tempted by Federer’s success in 2014 with the larger frame. Maria Sharapova, Dimitrov’s girlfriend, also uses a Head racket.

In the match against Mathieu, Dimitrov’s timing appeared to be slightly off, and he struggled to hit the return of serve cleanly. While Dimitrov’s return has always been one of his weaker shots, it was noticeably off for much of the match Monday. However, Dimitrov was getting quite a bit of pace on his first serve, topping the 220 km/hr mark on multiple occasions. As the match progressed, Dimitrov did appear to get more comfortable and started to really strike the ball well late in the second set and into the third.

Adjusting to a new frame is not easy, and it often takes a fair amount of time before players get comfortable and confident with their new stick. Dimitrov fell to Andy Murray in January at the Australian Open, and executed one of the better racket smashes you will ever see.

While that reaction was likely just built up frustration after failing to close out the fourth set, could that be the last time we see Dimitrov with a Wilson racket?

 

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Top 10 Statement Wins on the ATP World Tour in 2014

“Statement Win”–not only defeating your opponent, but accomplishing other victories in the process. Whether it be overcoming a lopsided head-to-head record, putting a beat-down on a top rival, getting your name out to the world, or simply playing your best tennis, a statement win is about more than just a notch in the win column. (See also: highlight win, signature win, etc.) 

2014 was another incredible year in tennis, and with the season wrapping up, The Tennis Nerds will look back and highlight some of the best moments from the past twelve months. We’ll try to stray from the norm–“Best points” “Best matches” etc–and give a little variety for our readers. You can find the Top 10 matches of the year just about anywhere. Today, I countdown the Top 10 Statement Wins of 2014. Comment if you agree/disagree or have thoughts on the best statement wins of the year!

10. Kei Nishikori d. Novak Djokovic 6-3 1-6 7-6(4) 6-3 US Open SF

Nishikori was the young gun who made the best breakthrough in 2014, finishing the year ranked a career high #5 in the world and reaching a Grand Slam final in the process. After two five-set marathon wins over Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka, few if any expected Nishikori to have much left in the tank for his Semifinal showdown with Novak Djokovic. He had been hampered by a recurring left foot injury for much of the summer, and looked out of the tournament when he took a medical timeout trailing two sets to one against Raonic. To add insult to injury, Nishikori had spent over 8 hours on court in his previous two matches. A windy day in Flushing led to some inconsistent play early, but after Djokovic won the second set 6-1, Nishikori looked on the ropes. He refused to give in to the sweltering heat of that day, and pulled off a shocking upset over the World #1. More shocking? He beat him at his own game.

9. Stan Wawrinka d. Roger Federer 4-6 7-6(5) 6-2 Monte Carlo F

The fact that Wawrinka is only on this list once is probably a huge mistake on my part. His 5 set epic over Djokovic was deserving, but I felt that this win was actually more significant in terms of mental strength. Coming into the final, Federer led the head to head matchup with his Swiss friend 13-1. FIFTEEN TO ONE. Federer owned his compatriot. Stan struggled not as much with forehands and backhands, but with his head. Mentally he was inferior. So when he lost the first set–playing pretty well–the outcome of the match looked clear. Federer was going to win his first Monte Carlo title. Wawrinka started to hold serve much easier in the second set, and although he gave up a break lead, the Lausanne native sealed the second set tiebreak with a serve and volley overhead winner. He ran away with the third set, tearing the cover off the ball on both wings. Federer was not playing poorly whatsoever, but Wawrinka was just too good.

8. Federer d. Murray 6-0 6-1 ATP World Tour Finals RR

By scoreline alone this one could have been number one. Andy Murray had a subpar 2014 campaign, but looked to be back in good form during the fall season. He won titles in Shenzhen, Vienna and Valencia to earn himself a spot in the World Tour Finals. His match with Federer was his final round robin match, and he needed a straight sets win to reach the semifinals. Playing in front of a home London crowd, Murray laid an egg, while Federer was on fire. If it weren’t for a few bad unforced errors at 6-0 5-0, Federer would have delivered the Scot a double bagel. Still, Federer proved that he was in far superior form, attacking second serves and approaching the net at will. He was off the court in 56 minutes, handing Murray the worst loss of his career.

It was so bad there aren’t even highlights on YouTube! (But here’s a Hotshot)

7. Novak Djokovic d. Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-3 Miami F

Djokovic came into the Miami final having just won Indian Wells. He was attempting the difficult IW-Miami double in back to back weeks, and had to face one Rafael Nadal in the final. What unfolded was a comprehensive, dominant performance. Djokovic went at the Nadal forehand relentlessly, which opened his two best attacking shots; the inside out forehand and backhand down the line. He was in full flight on return, putting everything Nadal threw at him within feet of the baseline. The last few matches of this rivalry had been back and forth, with Nadal winning 3 of the last 5. You felt like this match would serve as a good barometer to show where each player was at, and it did. Match point was pretty decent as well.

6. Marin Cilic d. Roger Federer 6-3 6-3 6-4 US Open SF

Hard to find words for this one. Just a look at the score pretty much tells the story. After looking….shaky against Gilles Simon in the fourth round of the US Open, Cilic started playing the best tennis of his career. This match was astonishing in particular. His liability in years past was often his forehand, but he was outhitting even Federer on that side. He was standing up on the baseline, giving his opponent nothing to work with. Federer wasn’t great, but he also wasn’t bad, which made this result one of the most surprising of 2014. The crowd tried to get Federer into the match throughout, but Cilic silenced them on every occasion with booming serves and flat, penetrating groundstrokes. Cilic claimed his first win in six tries over the 17-time major winner, and went on to beat Nishikori for his first Grand Slam title.

5. Rafael Nadal d. Andy Murray 6-3 6-2 6-1 French Open SF

It was a down year by Nadal’s insane standard, but he managed to win his 9th Rolland Garros title in relatively simple fashion, dropping only two sets the entire tournament. His most impressive performance came in the semifinals against Murray, who appeared to be back in good form after struggling with his return from back injury. Murray had taken Nadal the distance in Rome just two weeks prior, and this semifinal had the chance to replicate that competitive scoreline. It didn’t. Things started off badly for Murray, and they didn’t get any better. Nadal had time on all his shots, and was dictating play from the get-go. Yes, Nadal is the undisputed clay court GOAT, but to beat one of his best rivals, only losing 6 games in the process was a massive effort.

http://youtu.be/UDS-Mgh7wbg (FFT disables embedded video)

4. Novak Djokovic d. Tomas Berdych 6-0 6-2 Beijing F

Beijing seems to treat Djokovic pretty well. He’s won the 500 event all five times he’s chosen to play it. In fact, he’s only dropped *THREE SETS* in 24 matches played. The final in 2014 was, in a way, just another dominant performance from the Serb. But this might have been the best match Djokovic has ever played. Save for getting broken at 6-0 5-0, the world #1 played flawless tennis. He broke Berdych’s serve six times and never looked troubled. The quotes from both players after the match tell the story.

Berdych: “I just said to my coach now that I probably played over 700 matches in my career, and I met guys like Andre, Roger, all those probably in their best times. But I have never, ever experienced anything like that.”

Djokovic: “This has been, in the circumstances, probably the best performance of any final in my career. I have played some great finals, had some convincing wins, some straight-set wins against top rivals. But with this kind of performance and with this domination result-wise, I mean it’s never happened.”

3. Roger Federer d. Novak Djokovic 6-4 6-4 Shanghai SF

As stated in #4, Djokovic was playing unbelievably well during the fall swing. When Federer and Djokovic set the semifinal showdown in Shanghai, Novak was the betting favorite. Still, most in tennis expected a fascinating encounter. Well, it was fascinating. Djokovic played well, but the guy on the other side of the net was a different animal. Federer turned back the clock, and played as well as I’ve seen from him in years. The Edberg net-attacking gameplan coupled with an aggressive baseline game put Federer in vintage form. Vintage is a word that is used too often with Federer, but this really was a vintage performance. Federer halted Djokovic’s incredible 28 match win streak in China, sending a message that he was not going to finish the year quietly.

Federer: “It was a great match, I agree. I think I played very well. There was nothing in the game today that wasn’t working. I think it was a high-level match. I’m unbelievably happy with the way it went.”

Djokovic: “I think I did not play too bad.It’s just that he played everything he wanted to play. He played the perfect match. I think he’s going to tell you how he felt, but that’s how I felt he played. He played an amazing match.”

2. Grigor Dimitrov d. Andy Murray 6-1 7-6(5) 6-2 Wimbledon QF

I’m guessing that many of you will think I’m putting this too high on the list. (And please, let me know what you think!) But when I first came up with the idea for this Top 10, this match was the first thing that came to mind. Murray(on the wrong side of this list for the third time) was truly playing well at Wimbledon through the first four rounds. He had not dropped a set, while Dimitrov had just scraped through a 5 setter with Alex Dolgopolov. But Dimitrov was on a mission during this quarterfinal. He had already made the QFs at the Australian Open, and won two titles in 2014–Acapulco and Bucharest. But the Bulgarian made his official arrival to the top of the sport at SW19, blowing Murray off the court in the process. After every game you thought that Murray would find a way back, but he didn’t come close. Dimitrov’s shotmaking was incredible, and his backhand slice proved critical in a straight set dismantling of the defending champion.

1. Nick Kyrgios d. Rafael Nadal 7-6(5) 5-7 7-6(5) 6-3 Wimbledon R16

Finally! Number 1. (It took way too long to write this) Is there really any other option here? Kyrgios, 19, went out onto Center Court at the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, and took out Rafael Nadal in stunning fashion. Nadal certainly did play poorly. The match was taken out of his hands by the young Australian, who was bursting with confidence. Kyrgrios’ win was pretty much the definition of a breakout performance. Ranked outside the top 100 at the time of their meeting, Kyrgios looked like he belonged from the onset. Dozens of aces, massive winners, and even a jaw-dropping tweener set the tone as Kyrgios shocked the tennis world. (Actually, he actually shocked the ENTIRE world because of the Drake Drama!)

Australian Open Quarterfinal Picks–Dimitrov/Nadal and Federer/Murray

baby and fed

There are two blockbuster quarterfinals tonight, with both Baby and Uncle Fed participating. In all seriousness, these have the potential to be great matches, and my roommate Jorge Merlos has joined me to break down the match-ups and make our picks.

Grigor Dimitrov vs Rafael Nadal

Joey: This match has the uncertainty factor. Nadal definitely goes in as the favorite, but there are a few things that could have a massive impact on the outcome of the match. For one, Rafa has grabbed his knee a few times throughout the tournament, and it’s unclear whether he is 100% healthy. The massive blister on his palm could bother him, but he should be able to fight through that. Another unknown is how Dimitov will perform at this level in the most pressure packed match of his life. He had not been past the third round of a Grand Slam before this tournament, and although he has performed exceptionally well thus far, you never know what might happen given the uncharted territory.

The matchup is always tough for a one-hander like Dimitrov against Nadal, but Grigor has taken a set off of Rafa in each of their previous three meetings. Interestingly enough, it has always been the second set, and I believe if Grigor wants a shot at this one he will need to win the first. Unlike most players, Baby Fed hits a very sharp slice that actually can give Nadal trouble. In Cincinnati last year he used the shot very effectively, keeping Rafa on the back foot. It will be interesting to see how much he decides to come over the ball, because his one-hander at shoulder level almost always lands short. We pretty much know what we are going to get from Rafa, who never gives anything away, and always makes the opponent earn the match. Dimitrov has served exceptionally well and he will need that to continue to have any shot. My head tells me Rafa, as does every expert analyst out there, but sometimes you gotta go with your heart right?

Dimitrov 7-6(4) 6-4 2-6 1-6 7-5

Jorge: La Rodilla! The blister! Stop it. After beating Kei Nishikori on Monday, Rafael Nadal is poised to stop the Fed of the future, Grigor Dimitrov. If Dimitrov wants to win this match, his serves have to be on point. Last year in the round of 16 against Nadal at Cincinnati, Dimitrov won 38 of 54 point of his first serve. However winning points off his second serve was not as efficient as he won 12 out of 29 points.

Dimitrov has been able to win at least a set on Nadal in each of their matches but Nadal has been able to close out every match. Grigor takes a lot of positive momentum into this match after taking out Raonic and Bautista Agut, but Nadal looks unstoppable after beating his last 3 opponents in 3 sets. Look for Nadal to use his forehand to break down Grigor’s backhand, and attack Dimitrov’s unstable return game. I see this match ending with a very tough 4th set tiebreaker with Nadal eventually pulling it out.

Nadal 6-4 5-7 6-3 7-6 (7).

Roger Federer vs Andy Murray

Joey: A little after Baby takes the court, Uncle Fed will take center stage against Andy Murray. The two played a great, but not necessarily high quality match one year ago in Melbourne. Murray is coming off of back surgery and has played three players outside the top 100 in route to the quarters, so to say he’s had a weak draw would be an understatement. He has looked sharp though, only dropping one set to Stephane Robert in the round of 16. Through his first four matches it appeared that Murray had a few lapses in concentration, but that is understandable given the competition. He does look fully healthy, but playing his 5th match in 10 days will be a big test for back. After playing somewhat scratchy against James Duckworth in the first round, Federer has looked awesome in last three matches, culminating with a dominant performance over Jo Willy Tsonga that gave all Fed-fans some serious hope and belief.

Murray leads the head to head 11-9, while Federer leads the Grand Slam record 3-1. Hard courts are definitely the Muzza’s best surface, with his movement giving his opponents fits. The surface on Rod Laver Arena in a little quicker this year, but it’s a night match so condition will slow down. With the new racket, Federer has been serving very effeciently, even adding a few m.p.h.’s. His wide serve in the deuce court has been especially potent, and he uses that serve on almost every first point of his service games. Murray has played Federer with more aggressiveness in their past few meetings, and it will be important he does so against, because Federer has been bossing his opponents around the court. I think we know what to expect from Murray, a good solid performance. Federer is much more of a questions. However, there is a certain fire in Fed’s eyes and you know how badly he wants to prove the doubters wrong. Again, I’ll admit it, I’m picking with my heart.

Federer 6-3 7-5 6-7(5) 6-4

Jorge: I readily admit that I did not expect this match to happen. I did not see Federer beating Tsonga, and certainly not with that kind of  conviction, crushing Jo Willy in straight sets. It was the perfect way for Fed to come into this matchup against Murray. Murray has looked solid in his first few matches coming back from surgery but has not faced a big challenge from any opponent.

What I have seen from Federer in the past week has been amazing after a dismal 2013.  If Federer can move like he has been for the past couple matches, he can win this match. Look for more of the serve and volley from Roger to neutralize the Murray backhand return. The serve and volley tactic won’t seal the deal, but it will be a key part in winning the match.

Federer 5-7 6-4 7-6 (4) 3-6 6-4.

Go ahead, blast our picks. But I want to hear from you guys. As Brad Gilbert and Ricky Dimon  would say, who ya got and scoreline?

Australian Open Preview +Picks

aus

 

Make sure your alarm clocks are set. Be sure that your friends and family are aware that you may be unreachable for the next two weeks. If you’re like me, your sleep schedule will be wildly unordinary for the next 14 days. The Australian Open is upon us, the first slam of the year, the “happy slam.” With temperatures set to break 100 degrees on multiple days in Melbourne, the heat will certainly test players happiness.

The draw was released on Friday, and more than a few were in uproar at the imbalance it produced. Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Juan Martin Del Potro and Roger Federer are all on the top half of the draw, leaving Novak Djokovic sitting pretty in his quest for his 4th Australian crown. But a draw is nothing more than a draw, and the matches still have to be played for potential matches to occur later in the tournament.

I think this year’s Aus Open will be the year of the upset. An upset winner is highly unlikely, but we could be in store for some deep runs by less than “elite” players. So let’s get into the picks!

Winner

Novak DjokovicI know, this is probably the 1000th time you’ve seen this pick. But to pick against Djoker would mean that I’m not a realistic tennis analyst. Look at his draw. Really the only danger he faces in route to the final is Stanislas Wawrinka, and that is real danger. If Stan the Man gets to the quarters, we could be in for another epic. But most likely Novak will cruise through his first 5-6 matches dropping maybe a set or two in the process. He is the best hard-court player in the world, as he proved during his 24 match winning streak to end 2013. Obviously he should face a great player in the final, whether that’s Nadal, Murray, or Del Potro. But none of those players have an easy road to get to their 7th match. The overall stress of playing 2-3 tough matches takes its toll and Novak will undoubtably have the clear edge in the final.

Dark Horse(‘s)

Ernests Gulbis–Although Ernie G is in Novak’s quarter of the draw, he has the firepower to take out anyone. He lost in straight sets to Rafa in Doha, but I think the court speed in Melbourne is just right for Gulbis’ style of play. He will have just a split second more time, and the ball will sit just a little higher; perfect for his elongated strokes and extreme grips. Of course Ernie could lose in the first round and make me look incredibly stupid, but you gotta show some faith right?

Gael Monfils–I’ve made a few comments on twitter in the last couple weeks talking about Monfils. From what I’ve seen, I think he’s ready for a breakout(or breakback?) 2014. The talent has always been there, but he looked as focused as I had even seen him in Doha. He lost a close 3-setter to Nadal in the final, but he was hitting the absolute **** out of the ball. If he is serving well, he is tough to beat, and Gael lives for the big moments in front of big crowds. The defining match for him will be the potential 3rd round rematch between Gael and Nadal, under the lights on Rod Laver Arena.

Grigor Dimitrov–I pick this guy….a lot. And usually he proves me wrong, by losing before the third round in Grand Slams. But my colleagues at Tennis View Magazine have had great reports for Dimitrov’s practice sessions. Apparently he is really hitting the cover off the ball, and with new coach Roger Rasheed, it’s time that Grigor made his move. 2014 will see Grigor inside the top 10. There. I  said it.

Americans(The less Popular One’s)

Tim Smyczek–Had to include Smee in this post. He adds to the stacked top half of the draw. He will play Roberto Bautista-Agut in the first round. RBA is in good form, reaching the SF in Auckland, where he blew a set and break lead to John Isner, eventual champion. Tim is using a new racket in 2014, and as long as he takes out RBA he will meet Delpo in the second round, which should be fun to watch.

Denis Kudla–I really like Kudla, I think he has one of the higher ceilings among young Americans. He is VERY fit, and solid as they come off the ground. He qualified into the tournament and will face Florian Mayer in the first round. Mayer is a really good player, but I think Kudla takes this one in 5. He will then could face Mikhail Youzhny. Again, it should be fun.

As Brad Gilbert says: Who ya got and scoreline?

 

Grigor Dimitrov- The Arrival

babyfed

 

After years of being touted as one of the next great players, Grigor (Baby Fed) Dimitrov has finally arrived. Sunday was monumental  for the Bulgarian, as he claimed his first ATP World Tour title, defeating David Ferrer in the final of the IF Stockholm Open 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Sure, it’s only a 250 event. Sure, it’s his best surface, an indoor hard court. He only had to beat two top 30 players in route to the title.  Ferrer, a top five player, hasn’t even been playing great tennis. But the significance of this title cannot be understated. This is huge for Dimitrov’s progression into a top 10 player–and yes, I do think he will be a top 10 player.

His game style is compared to Roger Federer, and for good reason. His forehand is nearly identical, and the rest of his game isn’t far off either. I used to think that I was going to like Grigor because he like Federer. Now I realize that I love Dimitrov because he has his own personality, and he is not just a shadow of the Swiss Maestro.

Dimitrov has almost all the shots–his backhand is vulnerable to mistakes. Surely you’ve seen the insane highlight tapes on the Bulgarian. His behind the back half-volley, his diving pass against Djokovic in Madrid, or his squash-shot like pass against Rafael Nadal in Cincinnati. Every match Dimitrov plays you could see something special, and that’s what makes him great. This has held him back in the past, because his shot selection was questionable. However, in 2013 his fitness has improved, and his style of play has changed with it. He can now grind with the best of them, like Ferrer. He’s not afraid to do some roadwork behind the baseline. Speed has never been the problem for Dimitrov, it’s been about harnessing that speed with balance.

As he heads to Basel, the event he hit his greatest shot ever, Dimitrov is full of confidence. He only has two tournaments left this year, but look for him to make some more noise on the indoor hard courts. A potential blockbuster quarterfinal in Basel could be Dimitrov vs Federer. Please make that happen guys.

Day 5 Preview and Picks

dreddytennis

Some second round matches still need to be finished Friday, but the bottom half of the draw will start their third round, and the draw is WIDE OPEN. The opportunity to make a deep run may never be better for many of these players, so it will be interesting to see who steps up.

Dimitrov and Zemlja Resume- Down 8-9 in the 5th set, Grigor Dimitrov will look to come out strong and win a match he should win 9 times out of 10. You have to give credit to Zemlja though, as he has given everything he has in this match. He’s usually the one playing defense, but if Dimitrov can’t finish points like Thursday, he could pull off the upset. Already made my pick yesterday, but I’ll take a guess at the final score. Dimitrov 14-12 in the 5th.

Dustin Brown vs Adrian Mannarino- What an opportunity for these two. Dustin Brown has quickly become a fan favorite after beating Lleyton Hewitt, playing some unreal serve and volley tennis. I’ve followed him for a few years, and if you don’t yet know his story, it’s inspiring. He traveled with his family from future to future in camper van, using the little prize money he got to pay for gas. These two actually played earlier this year on the challenger tour, with Mannarino coming out on top. Brown’s forehand is crazy. It can leave you speechless, out of admiration, or shock. However, on this surface, with the crowd at his back, Brown will ride the wave of momentum to reach the round of 16 in 4 sets.

Ernests Gulbis vs Fernando Verdasco- Both of these players have outrageous amounts of talent, and are really great shotmakers. Gulbis was playing well and leading Jo Wilfried Tsonga before Jo Willy retired with a knee injury, and Gulbis is a great character. I love this guy, and this is a pretty good matchup for him. Verdasco has a huge forehand, but he usually hits it cross-court; which feeds right into Gulbis’ strength, his two-handed backhand. I’m taking Gulbis in 5.

Andy Murray vs Tommy Robredo- Great Britain’s hopes for a Grand Slam champion may never be better than this year. With the hope, comes extreme expectation for Andy Murray. As the saying goes, “when he wins he’s British, when he loses he’s Scottish.” Tommy Robredo is playing remarkable tennis at his ripe old age of 32. After becoming the first ever player to win 3 straight matches from 2 sets to love down, Robredo went down to Ferrer at the French Open. His game on grass isn’t great, so Murray should roll in straight sets.

Nicolas Almagro vs Jerzy Janowicz- This one could be match of the day. Janowicz has a shot to make the semi’s if he can take out the Nico. I’m thinking Jerzy boy in 5 sets.

Victor Troicki vs Mikhail Youzhny- Youzhny in 4.

Jurgen Melzer vs Sergiy Stakhovsky- Melzer in 4.

Juan Monaco vs Kenny De Schepper- Monaco in 3.

Benoit Paire vs Lucasz Kubot- Paire in 4.

Here we go!

Day 4: Restoring Order

restoringorder

 

After one of the most surprising and dramatic day’s in grand slam history, Thursday at Wimbledon restored order. Novak Djokovic and company most took care of business, with only a couple of upsets on the grass. Let’s get into it!

Djokovic In Control- After seeing so many of the top seeds fall, Djokovic is sure to be focused during his matches, because he knows that the other players now have belief that they can beat the top players. Unfortunately for his opponent today, Bobby Reynolds, the outcome of the match was never really in doubt. Although the first set went to a tiebreak, Djokovic barely lost any points on his serve, and was generating numerous break points of his own. He won the match by a score of 7-6(2) 6-3 6-1. It must be noted that Djokovic was not playing his best on the big points, as he converted only 4 of 18 break point opportunities. He will need that stat to improve if he wants to win the title.

Rain Finally Back- The weather had beed uncharacteristically good for the first 3 and half days, but the rain was bound to come eventually. Tommy Haas and David Ferrer’s matches were both postponed to tomorrow, and many players still have to finish their matches. The most notable of these is Grigor Dimitrov vs Grega Zemlja. Zemlja leads 9-8 in the fifth set of that match, although it’s on serve. Dimitrov needs to come out sharp tomorrow to win that match.

7-8-9- We’ve kind of ignored the 7, 8, and 9 seeds thus far in our previews, but they are quietly going about their business. Tomas Berdych outclassed Daniel Brands in straight sets, and his game looks very good at the moment. After losing first round at the French, the Birdman looks determined. He is in Djokovic’s quarter, and that would be a very good match. Juan Martin Del Potro also won in straight sets today, beating Jesse Levine. He can be dangerous on grass (Bronze metal at Olympics ’12), but he has never reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon. He plays the winner of the Dimitrov match next. Richard Gasquet had a little more trouble than the other two, but he eventually won comfortably in 4 sets over Go Soeda. He could play Berdych in the round of 16.

My Picks- Not such a great day for me. Not all matches completed, but I whiffed pretty bad on Denis Kudla, Milos Raonic, and James Blake. I ended up 7 for 11.