The American was down and seemingly out, but he found a way to a miraculous triumph. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday February 21, 2022

Only two matches have been played on the new center court at the Abierto Telcel in Acapulco, and already the tournament has been absolutely bonkers. The two longest matches in tournament history were played on Monday, with John Isner‘s three-set win over Fernando Verdasco coming in at 3:13, but it paled in comparison to the high drama of Stefan Kozlov‘s 7-6(8), 5-7, 6-3 triumph over Grigor Dimitrov, which lasted 3:21.

Tennis Express

Not only did Kozlov earn his first Top-50 win since 2017, he had to battle through seismic cramps from the second set onward to get it.

The cramps hit the American hard when he broke for 5-3, and, thanks to some help from a sporting Dimitrov, he was able to return to the court – but lose the next four games.

Most thought it was time for Kozlov to throw in the towel, but the 24-year-old, who entered the draw as a lucky loser on Monday when Maxime Cressy pulled out with a stomach ailment, had other ideas.

Making matters even more epic was the fact that Kozlov had been practicing with Rafael Nadal when he got the news that he’d be playing tonight and he had to cut their practice short. That might explain the cramps, but no worries, Kozlov apologized for having to skip out on the King of Clay.

In the end Kozlov found the energy and seemed to be suffering a lot less as he closed out the epic victory.

He’ll need whatever energy he has left, as he is slated to face either Rafael Nadal or Denis Kudla in the next round, ironically enough.