Watching a lot of Grigor Dimitrov lately, I’ve noticed a pattern: There’s a concrete moment, usually early in the second set, when he’s adequately warmed up from the first set and he decides to flip on God Mode. From there on out, you’re watching a qualitatively different player. Above is that moment in action, friends.
It’s one of those exchanges with a built-in narrative arc to it. You might’ve thought the point was over after Dimitrov kisses the baseline on that huge backhand and David Goffin coughs up up a short ball—but Grigor can’t capitalize on it, his forehand reply is too shallow. You might’ve thought it was all over a few strokes later when Dimitrov smokes a forehand down the line, but nope, Goffin takes a nice stab at it to float it back. Then we’re on autopilot for a stretch, each party hacking heavy slices, regaining their breath and looking for a fresh chance to apply pressure. Dimitrov takes the first crack, but Goffin’s a clean-as-hell ball-striker, and he starts slowly wresting control of the point, eventually finding his own down-the-line forehand. That too seemed like the end, but on the next ball Goffin leaves a little too much air under his slice approach, and Dimitrov, after all those strokes, still has the gas to sprint up to the ball and spin it along the sideline.
He maintained that level of play to get his second break of the set and serve it out.
Goffin took the first 6-4, Dimitrov took the second 6-1, and it’s all down to the last set now in their third round match at the Rotterdam Open.