With Novak Djokovic’s shocking retirement loss on Sunday night, Roger Federer has an outstanding chance to secure his sixth US Open. Now the highest ranked player in the draw, he faces Grigor Dimitrov for a spot in the last four. There will still be a tough opponent awaiting in the semis for the winner with either former champion Stanislas Wawrinka or the in-form Daniil Medvedev in the quarter opposite.
Once seen as the hope of the ATP once the big four wind down, Dimitrov has been slumping for a long time while many of the game’s younger talents have passed him by in terms of result and ranking. However, it will be he who is in this year’s quarter final rather than one of those aforementioned players in Alex de Minaur. He was always in control during the 7-5 6-3 6-4 victory and was barely troubled on serve, facing one break point in total. “There’s not much to say other than that I’m pleased to be back on a court, pain-free and feeling really good,” a delighted Dimitrov said on court afterwards.“I’ve put a lot of miles in my legs [and] a lot of practise.”
Roger Federer’s early struggles are way behind him if his last two victories are anything to go by. After dropping just five games against Daniel Evans in round three, he went one better in a 6-2 6-2 6-0 demolition of David Goffin. The head to head was always in his favour but the manner of the win was impressive, even by his standards. “Sometimes these scores just happen. You catch a good day, the opponent doesn’t, then things happen very quickly. Maybe he struggled a bit early on,” Federer said afterwards. “But I found my groove after a while and was able to roll, really. Never looked back.”
This could be the start of Dimitrov finally delivering on the high expectations placed upon him early in his career. However, the head to head doesn’t make good reading for the Bulgarian. He is 0-7 against Federer with just two sets won across those matches. For Federer, 21 is much closer than it looked 2 weeks ago. Having let such an opportunity slip at Wimbledon, he will be desperate to add to his tally on Sunday night. A win here would move him one step closer to that goal.
Prediction – Roger Federer in straight sets