After meeting for the first time at the Swiss Indoor Basel last year in the quarter-final round, history will repeat itself on Friday afternoon, as hometown hero Roger Federer and his supposed heir apparent Grigor Dimitrov will clash once again for a spot in the final four of the tournament. This is just the second time that these two competitors will meet on the ATP World Tour, with the Federer vs Dimitrov Head to Head standing at 1-0.
For the second consecutive year, 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer was forced to rally from a set down to defeat Denis Istomin 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the second round in Basel. Federer struck 6 aces and broke Istomin on two occasions – the second of which was a taxing affair – to close out the win in 1 hour and 48 minutes.
“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.
“I’ll recover in time for my next match. In recent times I’ve played in so many matches that I know how to bounce back from matches like [the one against Istomin].”
Next up for Federer in his campaign for a sixth title in Basel is Grigor Dimitrov, who began his week with a three-set victory over Alexander Zverev before following up with a far more commanding affair against Canadian No. 2 Vasek Pospisil on Thursday afternoon. Dimitrov won 86% of his first service points and faced no break points en route to the 6-2, 6-2 win in 64 minutes.
This marks just the second time that Federer and Dimitrov will meet on the professional tour and it just so happen to take place in the same round and tournament as their first meeting. Federer won that contest in straight set, and while he may face slightly more resistance this time around, will still likely come out the victor to the delight of his adoring fans.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Three Sets