US Open boys runner-up Denis Kudla faces a step up in class against number two seed Grigor Dimitrov in the second round of the Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships
Kudla was hugely impressive on Tuesday, earning his second ATP win by taking out Ivo Karlovic 7-6 4-6 6-4. Beating Karlovic on his favourite surface takes some doing and Kudla had to watch 24 aces whistle past him but he held his nerve to secure one of the finest wins of his career.
Kudla is currently ranked 394 in the rankings but is very much on an upwards curve and he's gained much confidence from seeing the success of the likes of Ryan Harrison over the past year.
“We’re the same age and those same guys are at the top,” Kudla enthused.
“I don’t think that their game is so much better than mine, but I do think their mentality is they really believe they can beat everybody and that’s what I feel like I’m getting slowly right now.
"Coming into the tournament last year I was just glad to be on the court. I got a match.
"I didn’t care about my second round. This year, anything short of winning would be okay – final, semis – but I really do believe I can win the tournament now.”
He faces a tough ask against Dimitrov who eased past Brian Dabul 6-2 6-4 on Monday. It's the Bulgarian's first trip to Newport but he appears as relaxed as ever.
Prediction: Dimitrov in straight sets.