ATP Tour

Huge relief for SA as Dimitrov pulls out of Davis Cup tie

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Grigor Dimitrov (Getty)
Grigor Dimitrov (Getty)

Cape Town - In what can only be described as a huge relief for South Africa, Roger Federer's US Open conqueror, Grigor Dimitrov, has not made himself available for Bulgaria in next weekend's Euro-Africa Group Two Davis Cup tie at the Kelvin Grove Club in Cape Town following his stunning feats in New York.

The balance of power in the South African and Bulgarian squads, which have been released by the ITF, flips dramatically without the player who has reached a No 3 world ranking and has now seemingly regained his best form after a decline in the past 12 months that resulted in him in slipping to the 78th mark.

Dimitrov's ranking will, in fact, rise considerably if he progresses further than the semi-final stage at Flushing Meadows - and could even gain him a place in the top 10 once again should he achieve a storybook first grand slam title.

In contrast to the elegant Dimitrov's scintillating stroke-making which earned him his first dramatic victory in eight match-ups against 20-time grand slam champion Federer on Tuesday, the players named to face South Africa in a tie of considerable Davis Cup significance as the two countries bid to improve their current lowly standings, can be described as modest at best.

No 1 Bulgarian player Dimitar Kuzmanov is ranked 294th in the world, No 2 Alexander Lazarov is in 540th position, Adrian Andreev has a lowly 955th spot and the two remaining players in the East European nation's squad, Alexander Donski and Gabriel Donev, do not have an ATP ranking at all.

The South African squad named by team captain Marcos Ondruska appears on the surface appreciably stronger, with No 1 singles player Lloyd Harris ranked 100th in the world and No 2 Ruan Roelofse in the 540th position.

In addition, the expected South African doubles combination of world No 8 Raven Klaasen and Roelofse are a proven force to be reckoned with and will be strong favourites to add to their record of Davis Cup successes.

The South African squad is completed with the inclusion of promising junior Philip Henning.

South African No 1 Kevin Anderson has not made himself available for Davis Cup selection since 2011 and, in any case, was not a candidate for selection because of injuries this year that culminated in his withdrawal from the US Open.

The South Africa-Bulgaria tie next weekend will be contested over four singles and the doubles over a two-day period, with the winners in with a chance of gaining promotion to the new-look Davis Cup format set for introduction in 2020.

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