Alexei Popyrin stuns Grigor Dimitrov in a big US Open upset
Alexei Popyrin continued his meteoric rise in the ATP Tour in the US Open. He beat the event’s 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov to progress to the third round. Alex recorded a straight-set win. While Grigor retired at the end of the match, it should not take away from the meaning of Alex’s win.
At just 22 years of age, Alex has proven himself to be a top player as of late. He is not an experienced player compared to his opponent. The Bulgarian was heavily favoured in this match but Alex pulled off another upset win just like his 2019 victory over Dominic Thiem.
Alex won the game using his aggression. The Aussie played a well-rounded all-court style which stifled the Bulgarian. The backhand swing was a strong weapon for Alex since Grigor couldn’t find a way to solve the hit. It forced the Bulgarian to adjust his style which contributed to the foot injury that led him to retire from the match.
This is Alex’s fourth win over a player in the ATP Tour’s top 20. Aside from the win against Thiem in 2019, three of those four wins have come in 2021. It is truly a stellar year for the young Aussie as he proved he can hang with the top dogs of the Tour while he plays his brand of tennis.
During this match, crosscourt rallies were a regular occurrence but Alex managed to win them using his superior speed and court coverage. He forced Grigor into making big mistakes which was a key factor in his win.
After the match, Alex talked about how this was a big win for him. He said, ‘It was a high-level match. He's a really tough opponent to play but we came out with the right tactics and implemented them really well. I'm just happy I was able to maintain that level over the course of the first two sets, and then unfortunately he had to retire’.
The Aussie tennis scene benefits from Alex’s victorious stretch. The country has some good players and there is a new star in town.
Words: Cholo Martin