Dimitar Kuzmanov overcame the first of the three obstacles that separate him from his big dream – a place in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament.
The Plovdiv native showed the familiar character and will to turn the match against Italy’s Luca Nardi in the first round of the US Open qualifiers, despite being two points away from losing.
Miko won 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 in almost two and a half hours of battle in New York to raise his arms in triumph and await a clash with Britain’s Liam Brody in the second round of the screenings.
Kuzmanov, who is Bulgaria’s second seed, trailed by a set and at 3-5 in the tiebreak of the second, the Italian Nardi served twice for the match. If he had taken the points on his serve, Miko was out.
But our tennis player struck a double blow with two minibreaks and turned the tide of the tiebreak, and then finished the job in the third set.
Thus, Kuzmanov, ranked 162 in the world, eliminated Nardi, ranked 173, to face Brody, who is ranked #131. The experience of the two is similar, with the Briton qualifying three times at the US Open but never getting past the second round.
Now Miko has to solidify this trend and try to touch her dream.
If he beats Brody, in the third round – the last one before the main draw, the Bulgarian will face the Ecuadorian Emilio Gomez (#112 in the ranking) or the American Brendan Hort (#296).
Their fight is on Thursday, as is Kuzmanov’s fight with Brody.