Stefan Kozlov Beats Grigor Dimitrov In Acapulco Marathon | ATP Tour

Stefan Kozlov was enjoying an evening practice with 21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal when the call came in Acapulco.

A few hours later the World No. 130 was celebrating overcoming severe second-set cramps on his way to winning the longest match in Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC history after downing 2014 champion Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(8), 5-7, 6-3 on Monday night.

Kozlov had narrowly fallen to Oscar Otte in the final round of qualifying on Sunday, but he took full advantage of Maxime Cressy’s late withdrawal in Mexico to stun the World No. 33 Dimitrov in a three-hour, 21-minute marathon.

“I just fought really hard and stayed focused at the end there,” said Kozlov after his win. “Obviously, I had a chance to win in two sets and cramped up fully, and I had to give away a couple of games, but thankfully I had a fighting spirit today and I just relied on it. I happened to play my best tennis towards the end.”

Kozlov saved two set points in an epic first-set tie-break, clinching it 10/8, before the drama increased a notch further in one of the most extraordinary sets of 2022 so far.

The American tried to celebrate upon breaking Dimitrov for 5-3 but immediately cramped in both legs, Dimitrov sportingly crossing the net to check on his opponent.

A physically hampered Kozlov was unable to serve out the victory as Dimitrov levelled the match, but the American incredibly found a second wind to clinch the only break of the deciding set and seal the biggest win of his career.


Kozlov’s second-round opponent will be either Denis Kudla or his Monday practice partner, fourth seed Rafael Nadal.

The American was delighted with the way things had turned out. “Today I was totally expecting not to be playing,” he said. “Now I’ve got the biggest win of my career and I’m about to play Rafa Nadal.

“I was practising with him today at six o’clock and then I saw my messages. I think he’s just a fantastic human being, I just have so much respect and I can’t wait to put on a show with him.”

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