Nick Kyrgios of Australia lost to World No. 28 Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the first World Tennis League (WTL) match in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The score was 6-7(5), 3-6.
Novak Djokovic, a Falcons teammate from Serbia who has won 21 grand slam titles, pulled out of the Wimbledon final rematch “because he didn’t feel 100% well enough to play,” so Dimitrov took his place.
Dimitrov’s second win of the day came with World No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. They beat 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu of Canada and former No. 3 Doubles Rohan Bopanna of India 2-6, 7-6(4), 10-7.
The Eagles won one match because World No. 4 and WTA Finals champion Carolina Garcia of France beat World No. 13 and 2021 BNP Paribas Masters winner Paula Badosa of Spain, 6-4, 6-3.
Even though the Eagles lost two games at the Coca-Cola Arena on Day 3, they were still on top of the standings because every round counts in WTL.
Teams get one point for every game they win, and the winning team of the day receives five bonus points for participating in three matches (mixed doubles, singles for women, and singles for men).
Saturday’s final will be between the teams with the most points after the round-robin exhibition games.
Kyrgios said, “It’s always nice to have these extra matches at the end of the season, and the best pre-season you could have is like this.” “I love being part of a team. During the year, you don’t see that very often. It’s cool. It’s something to do.”
Even though he couldn’t play on Wednesday, former World No. 1, Djokovic sat on the bench and cheered for his team. He even danced during a couple of breaks.
The Falcons and Eagles played a thrilling mixed doubles match. And Andreescu and Bopanna won the first set, 6-2, with some clever volley winners.
There were no service breaks in the first set of the men’s singles match. And Dimitrov won the tiebreak at 7-6. (5).
After Kyrgios saved three break points, the Bulgarian broke serve to score 4-3. He paused again to win the match, 6-3.
The Kites are made up of WTA World No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland. World No. 6 Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada. World No. 11 Holger Rune of Denmark, 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard, and former Doubles World No. 1 Sania Mirza of India. The WTL takes place from December 19 to December 24.
The Hawks are the last of the top four teams. They have World No. 12 Alexander Zverev from Germany, 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina from Kazakhstan. 2020 US Open winner Dominic Thiem from Austria, and 2021 runner-up at Roland Garros Anastacia Pavlyuchenkova from Russia.
WTL calls itself “The Greatest Show on Court,” and each night after the tennis matches, an international musical act performs Tisto on Monday, Wizkid on Tuesday, Ne-Yo on Wednesday, deadmau5 on Thursday, Mohamed Ramadan on Friday, and Armin van Buuren on Saturday.