sunnuntai 18. helmikuuta 2018

Five reasons why Dimitrov loses (and will never beat) Roger

This time I will try something different. I am going to write this in English and see how it works out. Bear with me. I have tried this once before, few years ago, so now it's time to do it again.

In today's Rotterdam final Grigor Dimitrov faces Roger Federer, who leads their head-to-head meetings 6-0. These two have a very similar game, same kind of style in their shots, but their achievements are worlds apart and that is not about change anytime soon.

We have already been waiting for years for Dimitrov to rise and shine at the highest level but it just hasn't worked out yet, at least not well enough. Last year was already a much better from him with more solid and balanced performances, but still there is lots of room for improvement.

1) Court position
What Dimitrov needs most is a more aggressive court position. He tends to fight and run, but also hit most of his shots 1-2 meters behind the baseline even if he is attacking from there. This leaves way too much time for opponents and they manage to keep the ball and themselves alive. This way you just cannot put the same pressure that Roger does.

You just have to be closer to the baseline. You have to be on the baseline. Take the ball earlier, find the angles, keep the speed of the ball and so on.

2) The movement
Even though Federer is about 67 years older than his young rival, he still moves better and more aggressively for his shots. Oh yes, he does! His running might be 35km/h slower, but the ability to react with his quick feet to the shots is still there and the balance of the old man is somewhat incredible.

Looking at Dimitrov, he is very often off-balance and sliding accidentally all over the place. With that footwork it is impossible to punish the ball the way Federer does. And one more thing, Federer just does not chase every ball like Dimitrov does. With his offensive skills he doesn't have to.

3) Serving
Federer's serving is still godlike. His accuracy is mindblowing and he rescues himself very often with his serves. You cannot say that from the Bulgarian. It is especially his second serve that is causing him troubles. It has been way too weary this year and we all know it. And when we know it, we punish from that. So does Roger. In the final the Swiss is going to those serves for late lunch.

4) The magic
What is lacking from Dimitrov's game is the magic that the Swiss often produces. Dimitrov tends to make the most obvious choices all the time and with that court position he finds himself way too often in a hurry because of the excellent counterpunches from the opponents. From the back it is impossible to find necessary angles and stuff. You can hit powerful central-lane balls, but at the end of the day that is just boring and predictive tennis. When the choice has to be made, Dimitrov very often goes with the neutral slice backhand instead of topspin. Changing this the other way round would be a good thing to start with.

5) Similarity
As said, the players are look-a-likes with their playing style. Very often in those cases, the better one has the upper hand. It is very hard to find anything that the other player, the better one, doesn't do better.

torstai 1. helmikuuta 2018

Vasurilla testaten: Virallinen kisapallo Wilson Australian Open

Australian Openin aikana testasin kisojen virallisen pallon eli Wilsonin Australian Open! Pallo on kuulemma Jarkko Niemisen lempipallo, joten mielenkiinnolla päätin itsekin pitkästä aikaa kokeilla, miltä pallo tuntuu.

Australian Open -kisapallo 1.5h treenin jälkeen.
Pallo on kevyehkön tuntuinen ja siten käsiystävällinen, jota itse arvostan taannoisista käsiongelmistani johtuen. Pallon pomppu ei ole korkeimmasta päästä, vaan ehkä jopa aavistuksen aavistuksen matala. Toki testipaikkana oli hieman viileä kuplahalli, mikä osaltaan saattoi hieman vaikuttaa.

Jotenkin tuntui kuitenkin siltä, että sain tartutettua palloon melko helposti kierrettä, eikä pallo "luistanut" mailasta kuulamaisesti irti. Puolentoista tunnin aikana pallo tuntui "munkittuvan" jonkin verran ja selkeää karvanlähtöä esiintyi myös, mikä hidasti palloa jonkin verran.

Sanoisin kuitenkin, että Australian Open on melko helppo pallo hallita alusta saakka, joskin kestävyys ei liene parhaimmasta päästä. Tykkäsin, enkä ymmärrä miksi en ole pelannut sillä useammin.

Tuomio: ****-

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