Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov will play in the bottom half of the men’s singles draw at the 2014 US Open and could face five-time champion Roger Federer in the quarterfinals – provided he makes it that far.
In three previous attempts, Dimitrov has never advanced past the first round at Flushing Meadows, including last year when he was seeded 25th and lost to Portugal’s Joao Sousa in five sets.
This time, the Bulgarian is seeded seventh – one higher than his ATP Tour ranking after world number two and defending champion Rafael Nadal withdrew from the tournament – and tipped to go on a longer run after reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon last month and the quarterfinals in the other hard-court Grand Slam Tournament, the Australian Open, in January.
For a second Grand Slam in a row, Dimitrov will play American wild card Ryan Harrison, whom he defeated in straight sets at Wimbledon (7-6, 6-3, 6-2) in what was their only previous meeting. A win would pit him against Carlos Berlocq of Argentina or Dudi Sela from Israel, with the prospect of facing 32nd-seed Sousa in the third round.
The other two seeds in Dimitrov’s section of the draw – and possible fourth-round opponents – are Frenchmen Richard Gasquet, the 12th seed, and Gael Montfils, seeded 20th.
And should the seeding bear out, Dimitrov would meet Federer – the player to whom he was compared when younger, although it has taken the Bulgarian some time to finally shed the unwanted “baby Fed” moniker. The two only met once, with Federer winning in straight sets in Basel last year.
Dimitrov played the two Masters tournaments earlier this month ahead of the US Open, reaching the semi-final in Toronto, but losing in the second round of the Cincinnati Masters last week. The early exit in Cincinnati had no impact on his ATP Tour ranking, where he remains eighth, but saw him drop to seventh in the calendar-year ranking.
In the women’s draw, Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova will play Italy’s Karin Knapp in the first round and, should she progress, could face ninth-seed Jelena Jankovic from Serbia in the second round.
The US Open starts on August 25.
(Grigor Dimitrov in action at the Rogers Cup earlier this month. Photo: Marianne Bevis/flickr.com)