Tennis

Roddick downs 'Baby Federer'

2011-10-11 15:36
Grigor Dimitrov (AP)

Herman Mostert

Cape Town - America's Andy Roddick fought off the challenge from Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7/3), 7-5 on Tuesday to advance to the third round of the Shanghai Masters.

The 10th-seeded Roddick came back from a break down in the second set and saved a set point before breaking Dimitrov at love to close out the match.

Dimitrov hit 28 winners - nearly twice as many as Roddick - but also made 51 unforced errors.

Roddick will next play seventh-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, who defeated compatriot Tommy Robredo, 7-5, 6-3.

The 20-year old Dimitrov has in many tennis circles been compared to former world No 1 and 16-times major winner, Roger Federer. His style of play is almost a carbon copy to that of the Swiss maestro - sporting a strikingly similar service motion and the same fluent single handed backhand - a rarity in today's modern game.

The Bulgarian has subsequently been dubbed as "Baby Federer" by many tennis scribes on the ATP Tour. He is currently coached by former Tour Pro, Peter McNamara from Australia.

Dimitrov was formerly coached by Sweden's Peter Lundgren - coincidentally also Federer's coach when he won his first Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2003.

Lundgren and Dimitrov started working together in 2009, and Lundgren at the time was reported as saying Dimitrov "is better than Federer was at his age". They parted ways in June 2010. Lundgren currently coaches Swiss world No 19, Stanislas Wawrinka.

But despite Dimitrov's overwhelming talent, the burden of being compared to a great such as Federer seems to have taken its toll thus far on the youngster. He has struggled for consistency and is currently ranked 72 on the ATP world rankings - with a career high ranking of 52.

ATP commentator Doug Adler described the Bulgarian's game as too loose and untidy, stating he would need to become more consistent in order to be compared to great such as Federer.

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