Omni Kumar, a Californian left-handed tennis player, made the most of his lucky loser entry into the main draw of the Winston-Salem Open by pulling off an upset against French World No. 73 Arthur Rinderknech, with a score of 6-3, 7-6(3) on Monday night.
Despite being just 21 years old and without a win at the ATP Challenger Tour level, Kumar entered the tournament following the withdrawal of former US Open champion Dominic Thiem due to gastro issues. Ranked at World No. 385, Kumar stunned everyone with his performance and admitted that claiming an ATP Tour win before succeeding at the Challenger level was surreal for him.
Kumar expressed his excitement, stating, “It’s surreal. It hasn’t even sunk in yet. I played the best tennis of my life and the crowd was behind me.” He also mentioned receiving the news about his entry right before practice and embraced the opportunity, feeling he had nothing to lose.
In Tuesday’s match, Kumar is set to face eighth seed Botic van de Zandschulp. Another notable performance came from Michael Mmoh, who secured a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory over qualifier Darian King. Mmoh’s mental resilience and strong service game played a pivotal role in his win, marking his 10th victory of the year.
Experienced Frenchman Richard Gasquet, seeded 12th, notched his 601st career win by defeating Switzerland’s Marc-Andrea Huesler 6-4, 6-4. Gasquet, who claimed his first win of the North American hard-court swing, is set for a challenging third-round match against either 19-year-old countryman Arthur Fils or Brandon Nakashima.
Sebastian Baez, the sixth-seeded Argentine, showcased his resilience by rallying from a set down to defeat Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. Baez’s next opponent will be determined by the winner of Australian ninth seed Aleksandar Vukic and Frenchman Luca Van Assche. The Winston-Salem Open continues to witness thrilling matches and unexpected outcomes as players compete for victory on the tennis court.
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