Fitting that with Roger Federer, King of Tennis, King of One Handers, back on his throne, and with the TTC replaying the match 400 times, that they’d get back to, well, not live, but new tennis with one handed prodigy Grigor Dimitrov. Dimitrov came in this week ranked 69th and comes off an odd retirement at Wimbledon in the second round versus Marcos Baghdatis. Dimitrov had fought his way up to a high of world #52 in November, as his points accrued through the hard court season. That Dimitrov has slid back down doesn’t bother us that much. We think it more a case of him developing than backsliding. It also doesn’t bother us that he’s playing in Sweden at Skistar. On clay. Theoretically, we like to forget about clay during the summer. The summer is when players need to get ready for the hard court season, but since most players see the early part of the American summer tour as a joke, a lot of Europeans who want to play and stay close to home play Stuttgart and Bastaad. With players like Almagro, Ferrer, and Robredo there, it’s a viable event where a kid can get valuable match play, and maybe notch some W’s.
Skistar Swedish Open — Semi-finals
David Ferrer: – 800
Grigor Dimitrov: + 500
__ __ __ __
Jan Hajek: + 260
Nicolas Almagro: – 340
And so Dimitrov is into the semi-finals in the early SF versus David Ferrer. The kid has looked good this week. He’s a huge underdog and we do not expect him to win, but we’ll take a play on him at that number any day, especially since we root for the kid. He went to the semis at a vastly diminished Queens last month, but that’s still on his resume. He is playing solid tennis. Ferrer on clay is a tough matchup for the kid, for sure. Last year in Cincinnati they met, and Ferrer, on a very fast hard court that suited Dimitrov, edged the kid 7-5 in the 5th. Dimitrov should have a little confidence coming in, and perhaps David Ferrer gets tired once in a while? The man is non stop. It will be interesting to see how Dimitrov’s backhand holds up against the Ferrer forehand. At any rate, we like Dimitrov’s progress. We expect him to finish up here and then get to LA for the Farmer’s Classic. Dimitrov should move up a lot this summer, as he has a lot more winnable early round matches, and we’ve seen him hold his own against pretty good competition, so now it’s a matter of breaking through.
As for the 2nd matchup, we’ll tell you that Nicolas Almagro makes a living on clay. We would be very surprised if Almagro and Ferrer aren’t duking this title out on Sunday. Almagro is a very talented one hander with questionable heart. The same might be said of Dimitrov. These guys are very similar, in terms of possible career trajectory. Hopefully, Dimitrov can do better than Almagro has in big matches, though he has specialized well enough on clay to make the top 10. We also think Dimitrov’s game translates better to fast courts, and we will be eager to see it.
Mercedes Cup (Stuttgart) — Semi-finals
Janko Tipsarevic : – 180
Thomaz Bellucci: + 140
__ __ __ __
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez: + 300
Juan Monaco: – 400
Let’s be serious. Juan Monaco is a horrible favorite. Lopez is a very talented player, and very good on clay. This is a good opportunity to reclaim some rankings points. Monaco leads the h2h 3-1, with Lopez’s win coming on clay. We just kind of feel that in some of these early summer matchups, the fresher player may have a good chance. So we will take a flyer on Lopez.
Tipsarevic-Bellucci is quite a matchup. We like Bellucci. That kid is a clay court specimen. Bellucci plays a lot like Nadal, who Tipsarevic does not handle well. Bellucci gets that lefty forehand spinning way out of the smaller man’s strike zone, and the key to the match will be how our favorite Techno tennis player handles that spin. Bellucci took the only meeting in the series in 2009 at Indian Wells, which might play slower than Stuttgart.