The final that offered so much delivered so little. All talk prior to the match was on Dimitrov and how he felt to get to the next level winning against Roger would help that but his 0-6 record is now 0-7 after a 6-2 6-2 thrashing in Sunday’s final but how can Dimitrov learn from Roger?
Watching the match I tweeted to say this looks like a man who has put too much thought into a potential win and after the first game when he started so well it quickly de-railed.
Grigor tried to go toe to toe in rallies and did well quite a few of the times but the rallies start somewhere and that was his second serve which let him down. For someone like Dimitrov who has a big first serve it is surprising not to see him let it go a little bit more on the second.
Dimitrov is ranked at 4 in the world but on second serve points won this year he is ranked at 96 in the world. His % is at 45.23% winning just 204/451 points behind the serve. This is something that Federer and his team would have studied and they did.
After the second serve is thrown in by Federer and Dimitrov in Rotterdam for Federer it has variety so it’s difficult to nail him down but the emphasis on this graphic shouldn’t be on Dimitrov’s position inside or behind the baseline but look where the majority of Dimitrov’ second serves are sent, down to the backhand!
The backhand is a strong shot on the attack but on the defence it is more of a reflex which makes it a weakness in this situation.
Now, let’s look at the second serve…
This is Dimitrov’ second serve very early on and of course get’s broken. The serve is too weak. Federer actually doesn’t move to return the serve, he just leans to the left and sends the backhand cross court which then leads to this…
This is the reflex shot, he has not option but to play this shot as Federer has gone for the backhand, the error comes and he loses the point and it was his last game of the set.
This shows a need to improve the second serve. It’s not just about speed but position, the ball was too central in the court asking no question of Federer but inviting him to attack the serve.
To improve it he should look at going for the serve out-wide on the ad side and on the deuce court going for the serve down the T taking the ball away from their comfortable zone which is what Federer has done so well throughout his career. His second serve doesn’t always need to be powerful but effective which we saw on match point Federer served out-wide on the second serve and with the skills he has finishes it off with a volley at the net.