Grigor Dimitrov in action in Rotterdam Photo: Marianne Bevis

The tournament had begun at a steady pace with world No4 Alexander Zverev headlining on Monday, ably supported by No17 Tomas Berdych.

By Tuesday, the action had cranked up: former champion Stan Wawrinka, last year’s runner-up David Goffin, and some of the brightest NextGen talents, Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev, were supplemented by a plethora of Major doubles champions packing the courts throughout the Ahoy arena.

But Wednesday took the schedule up a big notch, with four of the top seven players in the world all converged on the Ahoy, along with former Rotterdam champion Berdych, and the two finalists in Montpellier last week, Lucas Pouille and Richard Gasquet. Reason enough, that, for both Frenchmen to be pushed to Wednesday for their opening matches.

So it was pure gold inside, while the flags across the wind-swept sunny plaza outside the Ahoy picked up the gold theme. And the crowds poured in—the first sold-out day and night of the week.

Of course, those tickets flew off the shelves a week ago, when Rotterdam became the venue for Roger Federer’s assault on the No1 ranking. He would begin that campaign—and a run to the semis would do it—Wednesday evening.

Federer, it transpired, could have played Tuesday but chose Wednesday:

“To spend one more day with the family… I left them all to come here, so in a way I’m torn but I’m happy to be here now and I got half a day [Sunday]…

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