New York, August 24
Two months after barely with the ability to stroll whereas sick with COVID-19, Grigor Dimitrov performed an expert tennis match on the Western & Southern Open and – whereas the outcome was not what was most vital – he gained.
“I said to myself, ‘I’ll give it a try’. Now I’m here playing a match today,” stated Dimitrov, a 29-year-old from Bulgaria who was a US Open semifinalist final 12 months and is ranked No. 19.
“Honestly, I’m just purely thankful that I’m even able to just be here, to participate. Forget about the match – I’m not even talking about tennis right now.”
He stated he arrived in New York, the location for each the Western & Southern Open and the US Open, simply 1½ days earlier than taking the court docket for what turned out to be a 6-Three 6-Four victory over Ugo Humbert.
The ladies’s draw noticed some large names exit on Day 2 on the hard-court event – No. 1 seed Karolina Pliskova, No. 2 Sofia Kenin and 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens.
Pliskova, the 2016 US Open runner-up who would be the prime seed when the Grand Slam event begins August 31, misplaced 7-5 6-Four to Veronika Kudermetova.
Kenin, who gained the Australian Open this 12 months, was upset by Alize Cornet 6-1 7-6 (7) whereas Stephens was eradicated by Caroline Garcia 6-Three 7-6 (4).
Dimitrov examined constructive for the coronavirus in June whereas taking part in a sequence of exhibitions in Croatia and Serbia organised by Novak Djokovic, who additionally received COVID-19. (Djokovic pulled out of the doubles occasion on the Western & Southern Open on Sunday, citing neck ache, however remains to be slated to compete in singles Monday.)
“The first week was just tragic. I started by just walking. I couldn’t really do any exercise. I could not lift weights. I couldn’t play tennis,” Dimitrov stated, including that he misplaced lots of weight whereas sick.
“It was a really dark moment,” he stated. “I’m not going to lie.” Eventually, Dimitrov stated, he would follow for 20 minutes at a time, then constructed that up in increments. Still, he was uncertain about getting again on tour on the Western & Southern Open, the primary ATP event since tennis went on hiatus in March due to the pandemic.
Dimitrov stated he hoped his expertise with the coronavirus can function a little bit of a cautionary story for many who may not take the sickness significantly.
“I just kind of wanted to show a message that it doesn’t matter, in a sense, ‘who you are,’ how fit you are and how healthy you eat and so on,” Dimitrov stated.
“This thing doesn’t ask anybody (those things). We’re all equal.”
Two seeded males exited – No. 10 Andrey Rublev, crushed 7-5 3-6 6-2 by Daniel Evans and No. 13 Cristian Garin, who suffered a 6-Four 6-7(8) 6-Zero loss in opposition to Aljaz Bedene.
Men’s winners included No. 11 seed Karen Khachanov, whose 6-Four 6-Four victory started along with his opponent, Alexander Bublik, making an attempt an underhand serve.
No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas, No. 7 David Goffin, No. 9 Diego Schwartzman and No. 16 John Isner additionally gained their respective matches.
American qualifier Marcos Giron beat Mackenzie McDonald 7-6(2) 7-5 in a matchup between former school teammates on the UCLA and subsequent faces defending champion Daniil Medvedev.
Other ladies advancing included No. 12 Anett Kontaveit, No. 14 Elise Mertens, American qualifier CiCi Bellis and Jessica Pegula, a 7-6 (5) 6-Four winner in opposition to Jennifer Brady, who gained her first WTA title final week at Lexington, Kentucky. AP