The Belorussian Ilya Ivashka and the Swede Mikael Ymer set a new record in Sofia Open history. Tonight, they played the longest match in the history of the tournament. Their battle on the Central court of “Arena Armeec” lasted 3:22 hours. The 28-year-old representative of Belarus won 7:6 (8), 4:6, 7:5. Both needed more than 85 minutes only for the first set.
The longest match record was held by John Millman and Gilles Simon, who stood on the court for 3 hours and 15 minutes in 2020!
The two men split 10 breaks of serve across 24 combined break points, Ivashka sealing victory by battling through deuce to break in the final game. Both men struggled on serve, posting matching 57 per cent win rates on their deliveries, while Ivashka saved eight of 13 break points.
The World No. 71, who reached the fourth round at the US Open before losing a five-setter to Jannik Sinner, will face third seed and home favourite Grigor Dimitrov in the Sofia second round.
“I’m happy, it was a crazy match, I’ve never played a longer three-set match in my career. It was a super mental fight and I’m happy to move on. Thanks to everyone who stayed up so late. You obviously love tennis a lot,” Ivashka said in the on-court interview.
Regarding his next opponent – the local hero Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday, Ivashka said: “There will be a lot more people, and they will support him. I will do my best and try to enjoy the moment. I don’t know what to expect, he’s playing at home. All the pressure will be on him.”
The Bulgarian wild card Alexander Lazarov recorded his first main draw win at the Sofia Open! In the first round, the local favourite stunned 7:5, 6:3 Czech #NextGenATP star Jiri Lehechka (current world No. 74).
For Lazarov, the World No. 334, it was his first win at an ATP Tour tournament and his first Top 100 triumph.
“I have been waiting for this victory since 2015. Finally, I feel satisfied, a big weight has been lifted from my shoulders at last!” said Lazarov in the interview on the court.
“I worked hard for this moment. I was finally able to control my emotions. At the beginning of the year, I lost my grandparents. This made me start working harder and improving the talent I have. Unfortunately, when they left at the beginning of the year, I was not in Bulgaria and could not experience it as my father and mother did. It hit me after that. I realized that these people were suddenly gone. That they won’t watch my matches, or criticize me, especially my grandfather. He was one of the most sceptical people I know. But also one of the best people I’ve ever met. Over time, I experienced their loss. I’m glad I managed to win today. For them, this court was very special. This victory is for them. It is also for all the people who support me,” Lazarov confessed.
Alex’s opponent in the second round will be Lorenzo Musetti, who last year lost at the start in Sofia to Dimitar Kuzmanov. “This year is different; he had a good run in the tour. He won an ATP 500 tournament defeating the current #1 Carlito. I expect a difficult match, and I hope to control my emotions,” Lazarov said.
In the first first round match of the day, Kamil Majchrzak from Poland won Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis 7:5, 6:3.