En route to Miami 2001 with just two Masters 1000 wins, Roger Federer added three wins to his Florida tally and reached the first Masters 1000 quarterfinals. The Swiss faced no. 8, Patrick Rafter, who proved too strong for the youngster and beat him 6-3, 6-1 in 56 minutes to stay on course for the title and end Federer's journey.
The Aussie used his serve to win 30 of 34 points after hitting the first serve, fending off both break opportunities and increasing the pressure on Federer. The youngster failed to provide similar numbers in his games, breaking four times out of eight opportunities for Rafter to be behind the entire time.
The Swiss was unhappy with the way he competed, powerless on the pitch and making too many mistakes in rallies that he should have won against the opponent who threw everything at him with an aggressive serve and volley game.
"I tried to keep my serve today, but my game plan didn't work out. I couldn't complete what I had in mind because my serve wasn't there, which gave Patrick a lot of chances at the return. I think Patrick played well today, but my performance was horrible.
It's a huge disappointment and I'm a bit sad to lose in straight sets like this; not easy to admit. It was a great game for me to play against Patrick here, and the conditions probably favored him; the surface and everything.
I did my best, but I never found my game. At first I had a few chances, but it served well; after that, I had no chance at his service. He made me play badly and I would say that I made him play good."
Dimitrov on Roger Federer
Grigor Dimitrov has been one of the most popular names in the tennis world.
Even as a junior, his comparisons to Roger Federer ensured that stadiums remained packed wherever he played. In an interview with French player Alize Lim for Tennis Majors, Dimitrov talks about comparisons with Roger. According to him, the nickname ‘Baby Fed’ used to flatter him, but no longer.
Not only did he begin to dislike the nickname, but he also ‘resented’ the people who used it. Dimitrov insisted on asserting his individuality- “I’d proved myself to be a completely different player than he (Federer) is”.
When asked about the differences between himself and Roger Federer, the Bulgarian had a lot to share.“I think, first, decision-making,” he began. At times, he is way more aggressive than I am,” Dimitrov describes Roger Federer’s style of play.
Talking more about their different styles of play, he said. “I use different shots than him”. Additionally, he talks about how he feels he and Roger Federer are ‘polar’ opposites in their characters.