One of the more surprising semifinalists of the Poznań Open this year is Dimitar Kuzmanov. The 28-year-old Bulgarian had a breakthrough campaign in 2021, winning his maiden Challenger title. It’s fair to say that he’s continuing this form now. “I’m definitely more confident. I have a lot of experience already, playing all the Grand Slams, all the big events, and a lot of Challengers. That’s giving me a lot of confidence. I’m also really consistent in every tournament, I’m playing pretty much every week really solid. I also started to be more aggressive and improved the serve a lot, which helped me progress in the rankings.” said Kuzmanov on what helped him make the jump to a Challenger title contender.
A couple of weeks ago, Kuzmanov came very close to qualifying for Roland Garros, losing to Santiago Rodriguez Taverna in the final round. Making his Grand Slam main draw debut is one of the Bulgarian’s two objectives for this season. “Yes, definitely this is one of my biggest goals for this year. I was really close (to) reaching it at Roland Garros, now Wimbledon is coming and I’m also looking forward to that event. The other goal that I set for this year is to be in the first 150, I already entered in the Top 200 last year. Now the goal is until the end of the year to make it below 150.”
The 28-year-old is often referred to as Miko, especially in his home country. “Some part it comes from (Dimitar), the other part it’s that my family calls me like this. In Bulgaria, actually, a lot of people know me with my nickname instead of my first name.”
One upset has been made, is another on the cards?
Kuzmanov managed to upset Chun-Hsin Tseng on Friday, taking advantage of the Taiwanese not being able to find his baseline rhythm. The Bulgarian played more aggressively than before though, firing some great forehand winners. He also showed a lot of mental resistance in Poznań, particularly when he defeated Hugo Grenier in a match that played out in a very unique fashion. “Yeah, it was really tough mentally, because yesterday we were waiting the whole day. We started the match three times due to the rain delay, then the court was not good, then finally we stopped and we had to continue today.”
The Bulgarian will face top-seeded Arthur Rinderknech in the semifinals on Saturday. While he won’t be the favorite, his rival hasn’t been quite at his best this week, so there could be potential for another surprise.
Main Photo: Paweł Rychter/Poznań Open 2022