Elegant Dimitrov cruises to 6-0 6-1 victory

Grigor Dimitrov treated us to some exceptionally elegant tennis this afternoon as he demolished David Goffin 6-0 6-1 to advance to the semi-finals in London on his debut at the tournament.

He plays some beautiful tennis and this year at glimpses we have seen how brilliant he can be and I think I speak as a collective when I say everyone is happy to see him playing so well.

In his press conference after his win against Thiem he said he’s been fighting his demons and it opens up what he has had to battle to get to where he is now and Annabel Croft on Sky Sports summed it up perfectly through his hard work, determination and graft he has gotten here and he deserves it with the younger players on the tour on around him he has stepped it up when he has to!

Semi-finals set for Dimitrov on the weekend with a match against Carreno-Busta in hand as well.

GG

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Nervous Cilic on verge of going home after another defeat!

Marin Cilic is on the verge of going home. Out of the  eight players in London right now after Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal you’d say he’s the second most experienced player in the field with a Grand Slam, Masters 1000 title and a third appearance in London which looks like ending winless.

Cilic will be disappointed and will know himself it will take something extraordinary to qualify for the semi-finals now. This is Marin’s third appearance in London and so far he has a win/loss ratio of 1-7 at the tour finals and now plays a player he has a win/loss ratio of 1-7 in Roger Federer. That one win for Marin? US Open Semi Final back in 2014!

We have seen him get frustrated in the first couple of matches and well the nerves have gotten to him when it matters the most. At this event between the best it’s the smaller margins which cost big at the end of the day and he will look back to losing against Zverev despite being 3-1 in the final set and 3-0 to Sock in the final set as two matches that got away and he should have won.

After winning the second set today Sock seemed to fizzle out and Marin played a great few games of tennis winning 12/13 points to begin set three but was he guilty of seeing the finish line?

Federer wins tonight and Cilic goes home!

Cilic

Nadal – “I am off, my season has finished”

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the ATP World Tour Finals in London.

The Spaniard skipped Paris before the season ender here in London but has called time on his tournament and of course his year.

15 minutes after finishing the match with Goffin he arrived in the press conference room to announce his season is over.

Nadal said

“I am off. My season has finished”

Pablo Carreno-Busta will now take his place at the World Tour Finals as an alternate.

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David’s Day in London!

A day he will never forget. Almost a year ago I wrote a piece about Goffin having a smaller taster of London last year and how he needs to build to be there again and what a start for the Belgian!

From the off David was going for it, we saw him pulling off the backhand down the line and really asking questions of the Spaniard’s serve. After getting the early break you could sense the nerves as he etched ahead and Nadal quickly levelled up for 3-3. At this point it was a crucial 20 minutes for both men and we entered a tie-break which swung both directions but it was the 7th seed who sealed.

The big question going into set two was could David keep it together?

To his credit he did keep it together until the latter stages of the second set which saw him lose out on an incredible four match points and before you know it was four set points down in the tie-break which a visibly tired Nadal took!

Goffin was the quicker out off the blocks against a Nadal who continued to struggle and gained a 4-1 lead which was cut to 4-3 but with his movement hampered but this knee injury it felt like we were delaying the inevitable as he won 7-6 6-7 6-4 against Rafael Nadal!

Well done David!

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Style but no substance, Thiem too casual against a stylish but ruthless Dimitrov!

Dominic Thiem’s season to do date has been inconsistent and that theme followed Thiem to London in his opening round defeat to Grigor Dimitrov. The Austrian brought style but no substance to the O2 where as the Bulgarian brought style with substance and in a close match it can be seen as a major difference.

Dominic Thiem did not play a bad game but he played a game lacking killer instinct and if I’m honest too much of it was for show. There are two types of ‘show tennis’ in tennis, the first is show when you know you’ve won the point but the other distracts from the execution of the shot and we this from Thiem here.

Thiem too cas

Too casual, no power or conviction. Crowd pleasing type of shot which he ended up losing.

Minutes later we see this from Grigor.

grigor ruthless

Look at the way he approaches the net, he is there with that no nonsense movement and the racket head has winner written all over it!

I said in my preview of this one I think Thiem can learn from Dimitrov who is a show man but he backs it up more regularly than Thiem does. I do like Thiem but these points cost on the big occasion and this was another.

Goffin and Nadal next for Thiem, it get’s tougher!

 

Sascha bites back despite second set capitulation!

After winning the first set Sascha Zverev’ level dropped dramatically. The world number three has had issues of late winning after winning the first set but he dug deep when it mattered to see off the Croat.

Set two was a complete write off from the German who look flat and was hitting error after error whether it was the backhand into the net or the forehand long it just wasn’t working.

AV

It did look like it was going to go from bad to worse in the final set especially when he went a set down but turned it around when it mattered to secure his first win at the tour finals and leave Marin Cilic with a mountain to climb which he will be deeply disappointed with after gaining control of the match.

Zverev’ frustration was evident with gestures towards his box as well as questioning line calls with the umpire which begged the question why not challenge?

Despite a 125 minute marathon the German hung around and was back on court at around 11pm last night practicing with his coach!

Next up? Federer.

ATP World Tour Finals – Grigor Dimitrov v Dominic Thiem

Roll back 10 months to January when these two faced off in Brisbane. The Bulgarian won on that occasion and here’s why I think he will again.

Dominic Thiem has played too much once again this year. The Austrian has taken part in 28 tournaments in 9 months before arriving in London and is in a poor run of form winning 2 of his last 7 matches and hasn’t found any momentum or consistency since the clay court season.

For Dimitrov it has been a consistently good year. He was exceptional in the first few months winning titles but it did fizzle out but it never took a big effect on his tennis and adapted very well.

If I were to describe Thiem’s tennis then it would be nice. He does play some lovely shots but it’s more of an aesthetically pleasing tennis on the eye than an effective tennis and we’ve seen that this year and in Brisbane.

casual thiem

This shot above shouts one thing to me and that is casual. Down set point and Thiem is playing with a drop shot when a simple put away was on. Fast-forward five seconds and Dimitrov plays a backhand passing winner and you can see the dejection in Thiem’s body language below…

DT passed

His tennis is too nice and I think he can learn from Dimitrov who has battled very hard to get to London and lose that casual side of his game but still plays beautiful but effective tennis!