A crook Roger Federer will find out exactly where his game is at when he meets his ‘mini-me’ in the Brisbane International quarter-final on Friday, his first serious outing of 2016.
After overcoming a flu bug to destroy German qualifier Tobias Kamke 6-2 6-1, a far more difficult test awaits Federer in the shape of Grigor Dimitrov at Pat Rafter Arena.
Even the Swiss maestro himself isn’t quite sure what to expect of himself, having been struck down by illness since arriving in Brisbane and only spending 55 minutes on court in disposing of Kamke in his season opener on Thursday night.
Federer met Dimitrov in the semi-final of the Brisbane event last year, giving up only four games in a straight sets victory, but said he expects a “tougher” rematch.
“It’s earlier in the tournament. Okay, maybe just one round earlier, but it’s been a rocky last couple of days,” he said.
“Don’t quite know what to expect quite yet. Plus today was thankfully short, but also doesn’t give me as much information as where my game is at.
“In practice in December it’s been great. I have been hitting the ball well. I am where I want to be. Then again, (on Friday) we’ll see.”
Former world No.8 Dimitrov came from behind in searing Queensland heat to beat Serbia’s Viktor Troicki in a nearly three-hour epic, notching a 5-7 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 win to earn his spot in the quarters.
“He’s had a tough grind today, but he’s extremely match tough. I expect him to be fresh again,” Federer said.
“I played him quite aggressive last year and that worked well. We’ll see if I’ll do the same again.”
The Federer-Dimitrov clash is the main event of the evening session at the Queensland Tennis Centre, with the women’s singles semi-final between Belarusian Victoria Azarenka and American surprise packet Samantha Crawford to follow.
The last remaining Australian in the tournament, Bernard Tomic, faces Japanese star Kei Nishikori, while third seed Marin Cilic tackles Austria’s Dominic Thiem and fourth seed Milos Raonic is up against Frenchman Lucas Pouille.
The other women’s semi in Friday will pit German Angelique Kerber, the highest-seeded player left in the draw, against plucky Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.