slice backhands—forehand setups
One more question. Grigor seems to have a really good running forehand. He really defends well on that side. Also wondering what your thoughts are on his running forehand. As you noted, Sampras was the king a couple of generations ago. It feels like he could hit that running wide forehand really well. It was make or break but he pulled it off enough to scare opponents when they made him run wide.
Not very complicated to see what happens in this one. The slice helped but it was not enough against a player that can win on automatic pilot these days.
Dimitrov is looking like and up and comer this fall. His serve has lost some of its hitch. But not enough. That is why I think it goes off on him. Without the fluidity of a very good server it will always be a bit of a lottery. Under pressure he will almost always miss his first serve. Meanwhile, Djokovic's looks silky smooth these days. He even hit a second serve ace. The other issue for Dimitrov and it looks like it is true of many one handers is that they are not Stan. I know I sound like a broken record but he is the only one who really dominated off that wing. He could hit winners and his slice was solid. Dimitrov's game looks better but the only way to really climb would be to loosen up on the serve once and for all. If he could create a more fluid serve, my guess is that it would be more reliable and that he could ride it out more.
I have been watching Grigor and feeling that he is worth watching because he reminds me so much of Roger. Then, I see just a tad less explosiveness in his shots and less aggression in general. He seems like more of a nice guy. Not as harsh as the big three were when they were on. He finally got a little angry at the end and played more aggressively. That edge might also take him over the top.
Meanwhile, Novak will keep playing such clean tennis. I saw him at Bercy 6 years ago against Berdych. It was like watching ping pong. He is literally like a wall. Hard to beat a wall!
Was in person at Bercy for Fri-Sun. Djokovic simply sensational seeing as he had the shits but Dimitrov's level in the final was certainly lower than in previous matches. Very insightful analysis, am new to the blog thanks Hugh.
Has Dimitrov’s forehand always been an outside setup? Going back to arguably his best match ever against Nadal AO semi 2017, he appears to have a much fuller takeback and a much more dangerous forehand.
From the limited amount of footage I've been able to watch these last months, I feel that Dimitrov has been choosing to slice more backhands for a while, is that right? In general, I feel there's been a bit of an upwards trend for the backhand slice across the field this autumn season, with Dimitrov being the most prominent non-Evans example. Not sure if it's just highlights-rally-bias or if it's a real thing - are folks who watch enough full matches seeing this trend as well?
What are your thoughts on Tsitsipas slice shot this week? It looks clunky and ugly, but he used it to soundly beat Zverev and Kachanov. It fell apart when he faced someone that could attack it with the forehand in Dimitrov, but could Tsitsipas still develop that shot? In theory, if he could hone it, it could save him from the purgatory he is stuck in the past couple years, unable to do anything on his backhand side, right?