Rafael Nadal vs. Grigor Dimitrov
Grigor Dimitrov is riding a 10 match winning streak, is 6’3″, has a big serve, is a shot-maker, and beat Rafael Nadal in their most recent meeting. That all bodes well for the Bulgarian. What does not bode well are his 6 losses to Nadal, the 3 of 5 set format that allows Rafa to get his teeth into the match even if Dimitrov were to jump out to an early lead. Nadal’s positioning on court is more defensive than it was when he was at his best. However, a clean match in which Dimitrov has to hit a lot of balls might be enough for Rafa to win.
I think Dimitrov is playing well enough that a purely defensive effort from Rafa won’t be enough. I do think Rafa will take good care of his own service game and crack enough big forehands to win this match. Dimitrov is playing some of the best tennis of his career and can win if he maintains that level. Rafa just has a way of eliciting errors and frustration from an opponent over the course of a 3 of 5 set match.
My Prediction: Rafael Nadal d. Grigor Dimitrov 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-2