Closing out play on Centre Court on Manic Monday is a matchup that may well look pleasing on the eye but turns out to be not as close as many are anticipating. Tournament favourite Roger Federer plays Grigor Dimitrov for the sixth time in their careers, with the Swiss looking to extend his dominant head to head over Dimitrov to 6-0.
After Dimitrov started the season on fire, peaking with an Australian Open semi final, he came back down to earth a bit struggling through the American hard court swing and early on clay. A semi final in Queens has been backed up with three dominant wins to make it to week two at Wimbledon, although his route here was one of the easiest possible for him. He spent just an hour on court in the previous round with Dudi Sela retiring down 6-1 6-1. Despite Sela’s injury, Dimitrov was happy with his level prior to the match ending prematurely. “After that first set, I felt I was getting, like, my confidence was actually getting pretty high, I started to be a little bit more locked in, more positive with each ball, with each shot. I was following my game pretty well.” he said afterwards.
Federer dealt with Mischa Zverev as expected in round three, defeating the German in straight sets. The stats were overwhelmingly in his favour with whopping 58 winners hit by him compared to just 7 unforced errors. Federer is 27-2 after the victory and full of confidence as he seeks his 19th grand slam. “It’s important to get through the first week with a good feeling and I think I got that,” said Federer. “The first match with the walkover saved me a lot of energy, crucial energy. We go one round at a time.”
Despite the negative head to head, Dimitrov is confident in himself. “I think I’m just really focused on myself right now, on my game. That’s about it. Whatever’s on the other side of the net, I mean, I can’t control it. I can control only what’s on my side, in my team, what I do to prepare myself the best way that I can before the match. I’m pretty positive. I like my chances.” he said. Dimitrov was always tipped as the next Federer and there is a little bit in it in their game styles. However, Federer’s superiority in almost all aspects of the game plays out in the record between the two. Over those 5 losses, Dimitrov won just 2 sets including one at the last meeting between the two at the Australian Open last year.
Prediction – Roger Federer in straight sets