2 months after COVID ‘dark moment,’ Dimitrov wins in return


Two months after slightly having the ability to stroll whilst unwell with COVID-19, Grigor Dimitrov performed a certified tennis fit on the Western & Southern Open on Sunday and — whilst the outcome was once no longer what was once maximum necessary — 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 once a U.S. 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 website for each the Western & Southern Open and the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 31, simply 1½ days sooner than taking the court docket for what grew to become out to be a 6-3, 6-Four victory over Ugo Humbert.

Dimitrov examined sure for the coronavirus in June whilst taking part in a sequence of exhibitions in Croatia and Serbia arranged by means of Novak Djokovic, who additionally were given COVID-19. (Djokovic pulled out of the doubles match on the Western & Southern Open on Sunday, mentioning 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 numerous weight whilst unwell.

“It was a really dark moment,” he stated. “I’m not going to lie.”

Eventually, Dimitrov stated, he would follow for 20 mins at a time, then constructed that up in increments. Still, he was once unsure about getting again on excursion on the Western & Southern Open, the primary ATP event since tennis went on hiatus in March as a result of the pandemic.

Dimitrov stated he hopes his enjoy with the coronavirus can function just a little of a cautionary story for many who may no longer take the sickness critically.

“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.”

In girls’s first-round suits on Day 2 of the hard-court event, 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens was once eradicated by means of Caroline Garcia 6-3, 7-6 (4), and Jessica Pegula were given previous Jennifer Brady — who gained her first WTA identify final week at Lexington, Kentucky — 7-6 (5), 6-4.

Other winners integrated No. 12 Anett Kontaveit, No. 14 Elise Mertens and American qualifier CiCi Bellis.

Two seeded males exited: No. 10 Andrey Rublev, crushed 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 by means of Daniel Evans; and No. 13 Cristian Garin, a 6-4, 6-7 (8), 6-Zero loser in opposition to Aljaz Bedene. Men’s winners integrated No. 11 seed Karen Khachanov, whose 6-4, 6-Four victory started together with his opponent, Alexander Bublik, attempting an underhand serve; No. 9 Diego Schwartzman, No. 16 John Isner and American qualifier Marcos Giron, who beat Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (2), 7-5 in a matchup between former school teammates at UCLA.



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