Grigor Dimitrov lost in the second round of the US Open against Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin in a five-set marathon that went on for three hours and 38 minutes and ended with a scoreline of 3-6, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6.
Despite his usual flashes of brilliance, Dimitrov’s loss came down to his own mistakes – despite making 62 winners, he also had 67 unforced errors, while also notching nine double faults. He was also hamstrung by a poor second serve, winning only 36 per cent of points.
This is the fourth time in five years that he has failed to progress past the second round at the US Open, with the fourth-round appearance last year remaining his best accomplishment at Flushing Meadows.
It is yet another early exit for Dimitrov in what has been a miserable season, especially compared to the heights he reached last year, when he won three titles and reached the Wimbledon semi-finals, breaking into the ATP top 10. The latest defeat is Dimitrov’s 15th loss to lower-ranked opposition so far this year and, as many of his other lost matches, due to his own mistakes more than his opponents’ strong play.
In recent months, Dimitrov has blamed part of his struggles on trying to find a better-fitting racquet and, following the early Wimbledon exit, he also parted ways with his Australian coach Roger Rasheed, but the change does not appear to have made a noticeable impact on his game.