Stefanos Tsitsipas suffers shock first-round loss to Daniel Galán at US Open
When Stefanos Tsitsipas lost to Daniel Galán at the US Open on Sunday, he was facing a man who’d had little success on clay.
And Tsitsipas had to endure a nightmare of a matchup against an 11-year-old kid with a knack for turning his back on the game.
Galán proved to be an unsinkable opponent, outlasting the Greek 6-foot-6 player 10-6, 6-4, 6-2.
The 19-year-old from Spain became the first person of any nationality to lose on the opening day of a major tournament in more than 80 years.
“It was tough in the beginning, and it was tough to get out of the first set,” he said. “But I gave it my all.”
Galán is a gifted player who has had great success on the clay in recent seasons, but few would have expected him to beat the world No. 1. On the day he was a revelation.
Tsitsipas’s victory — Tsitsipas would finish the game with his right wrist in an uncomfortable position — made him the first player, male or female, since 1936 to have started a major of a different nationality than his opponent.
Tsitsipas’s decision to take a towel on court with him at the start of the match, and the fact that he played the opening set on his knees, was reminiscent of what happened to the great Arthur Ashe when he lost to Ivan Lendl in the first round of the U.S. Open in 1965, the first time a woman had ever advanced to the third round in a major.
The two-time grand slam champion, Ashe, was so uncomfortable on the court that he went to his locker and took off his shoes. He finished the match on his knees in a position where the ball never reached him, and ended his career with a final ranking of no. 7, after the defeat in the first round of grand slam tournaments.
“It was a great way to start,” he said. “But things aren’t always like that.”
Galán, the youngest player in the