Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov opens his French Open campaign on May 26 against American Jack Sock in the final match of the day on Court 1, hoping to avoid a repeat of last year’s surprise first-round exit.
In 2014, Dimitrov ran into the serving juggernaut named Ivo Karlovic and lost in straight sets. Sock is better known for his doubles play, but he has been rising up in the singles rankings and is currently 37th in the world – the same as Karlovic was last year when he knocked out Dimitrov.
Dimitrov won the only previous meeting between the two, last in year in Stockholm, bouncing back after going a set down. The Bulgarian has struggled at times this season against lower-ranked opponents– seven of his 10 defeats so far this year have come at the hands of players ranked below him and he is 9-9 so far this season against other players in the ATP top 50 (including a 6-4 record on clay).
His best showing at Roland Garros came in 2013, when he reached the third round, losing to top seed Novak Djokovic. The draw did Dimitrov no favours, with no easy opponents in his path – should he advance to the second round, he would face either Victor Estrella Burgos (ranked 49th) or Pablo Carreno Busta (ranked 61st), before a likely clash with 18th-seed Tommy Robredo, against whom Dimitrov is 1-2 in his career.
Should Dimitrov progress further, a meeting against defending nine-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal awaits (even though Nadal is having possibly the worst clay-court season of his career, the prospect of him being upset early at Roland Garros, where he has only suffered one defeat ever, still appears unthinkable), with the winner facing Djokovic in the quarterfinals.
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