Dimitrov advances against Grand Slam debutant Safwat
Fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov moved into the second round of the French Open on Sunday with a straight sets win over Mohamed Safwat from Egypt.
The 27-year-old from Cairo, who had lost in the last round of the qualifying tournament, was handed a spot in the first round after Dimitrov’s original opponent, Victor Troicki, withdrew with a back injury.
“I’d just finished my warm up and about 20 minutes before the start of the match I went into the locker room where I saw Victor who said: ‘Good luck.’ He told me he’d pulled out," said Dimitrov. "That’s the way it is and I just had to adjust to playing a different person.”
Safwat, 27, the world number 182, had never appeared in the main draw of a Grand Slam. He betrayed his inexperience during the first set which Dimitrov claimed 6-1 in 24 minutes.
“At the beginning I was trying to figure out the court,” said Safwat. “I had to find out if it was fast or slow. It was different from the courts I had been playing on.”
Though he lost the second set 6-4, that at least lasted 48 minutes and he showed more grit in the third especially when serving at 4-4.
Safwat fell to 0-40 but fought back to claim the game and take a 5-4 lead. It went to a tiebreak and the Bulgarian ran away with it seven points to one. It was all oer in two hours and two minutes.
“This is a milestone in my career,” Safwat added. “I need to stop and look at what I’ve done and what can be improved - whether that’s mentally or physically and what I need to add to my game.
“I mustn’t stop here by saying: 'I played on the centre court.' I need to see what I need to go up because that is always the goal and the dream - to go up and not to be happy with what you’ve got.”
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