Dimitrov Starts Australian Open Campaign

MELBOURNE, January 15, 2018

Qualifier Dennis Novak faced a tough assignment in his first Grand Slam main draw match, as the Austrian took on No. 3 seed Grigor Dimitrov in the opening round of the Australian Open in the third match on Rod Laver Arena on Monday.

Dimitrov ended the 2017 season strongly, winning the ATP Finals in London, and will be keen to carry his good form into the first Grand Slam of the new year. The Bulgarian, who has never lost to a qualifier at a major, nor has he ever lost a Grand Slam match to a player ranked as low as World No. 224 Novak, was in good shape, struck 21 winners to seal a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 victory in one hour and 38 minutes.

“I love playing on this court, it was tricky weather with a lot of wind in the warm-up and I tried to be compact and focused,” Dimitrov said.

“It’s always a dream of mine to win a Slam, this is the next step, and the only thing I can do is to give 100 percent in each match.”

Dimitrov will next face another qualifier, as Mackenzie McDonald from the United States defeated Elias Ymer of Sweden 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.

Elsewhere, Denis Shapovalov gained a comfortable 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 win in the highly expected battle of the #NextGenATP players against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. The Canadian teenager was in control of the match, winning 83 per cent of his first service points. Shapovalov hit 33 winners and broke serve five times to advance after one hour and 56 minutes.

News and notes:

Andrey Rublev fought past Spanish veteran David Ferrer 7-5, 6-7(6), 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-2.

Yoshihito Nishioka earns his first tour-level match win since tearing left ACL at 2017 Miami Open. The 22-year-old from Japan knocks out No. 27 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 2-6, 6-0, 1-6, 6-2.

US-American and eighth seed Jack Sock, who enjoyed a strong end to the 2017 season – form which saw him break the world’s Top 10 for the first time, fell in the opening round to Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-1, 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-3