Roger Federer and Grigor Dimitrov will be going head-to-head for the fifth time in their careers when they clash in round three of the Australian Open on Friday. Federer has won all four of their previous encounters and is 8-1 at Dimitrov’s expense in total sets. They just faced each other in the Brisbane quarterfinals, with Federer surviving 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-4. Check out the Federer vs Dimitrov Head to Head.
Part of the reason for the competitiveness earlier this month was that Federer did not feel 100 percent at any point during the week. The minor illness caught up with him in the end, as the 34-year-old Swiss went down to Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-4 in the title match. But Federer is rolling again in Melbourne, with straight-set defeats of Nikoloz Basilashvili and Alexandr Dolgopolov to begin his fortnight.
“Obviously it’s not an easy match,” Dimitrov assured. “But I felt that I’ve been playing good. I have quite a few matches behind my back already. But we all know how he plays; tremendous competitor. It’s (an) exciting match for me, to be able to get to the third round and play against him. It’s a match that I want to play. I definitely want to get out there on the court and sort of have a rematch–with a different outcome, I hope.”
The Bulgarian has been a busy man so far this season, as he followed up his Brisbane performance with a runner-up showing in Sydney. Only Viktor Troicki managed to get the best of Dimitrov, but not before an epic three-setter in the championship match. So far this fortnight Dimitrov has dismissed Paolo Lorenzi in three sets and Marco Trungelliti in four.
“He’s on a high right now,” Federer said of his opponent. “I think it’s a tough draw, to be honest. He’s got the game to be really dangerous. He’s fit enough for a five-setter, so I gotta definitely bring my best game to the court.”
That’s exactly what Federer has done so far this fortnight. He may not be able do it from start to finish on Friday, but the favorite should be able to finish the job before things get too tense.
Prediction – Federer in four sets