Stefanos Tsitsipas suffers shock first-round loss to Daniel Galán at US Open
Two hours before play was scheduled to begin at the US Open, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniel Galán had to be pulled from their respective opening rounds by their respective coaches who needed to be consulted.
Their respective opening rounds were cancelled. Their first-round matches were forfeited. Their respective rankings were determined by computer with minimal scrutiny; they were given their ranking at the time as an indication of where they stood in the world.
Their respective futures were determined by two people in a very quick and informal conversation. One of them, an anonymous US Open public-relations consultant, decided his client was better than his opponent, and the other, a player and fellow amateur on the ATP circuit, decided he was better than his opponent.
The first round between the two of them at the US Open was an instant classic.
You should probably take your ball home from here.
— Andy Murray
Tsitsipas and Galán are the latest examples of a growing trend at the US Open of players who have been ranked ahead of their opponent on the eve of their first-round match and have subsequently been stripped of their final-round match.
The trend began in the second round of the men’s draw in 2009 when Juan Martin del Potro was ahead of Fernando Verdasco. The following year, Rafael Nadal was ahead of Robin Soderling, and the following year, Novak Djokovic was ahead of Stan Wawrinka.
The trend continued at the Australian Open, with Andy Murray ahead of Nikolay Davydenko and Rafael Nadal ahead of Grigor Dimitrov.
The trend also is happening at Wimbledon, with Andy Murray ahead of Gilles Muller and Rafael Nadal ahead of Thiemo de Bakker.
The trend began at the 2016 French Open, with Kei Nishikori ahead of Gilles Simon and Dominic Thiem ahead of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The trend continues at the US Open, with Tsitsipas ahead of Galán, the most recent example of a player who was ranked ahead of his opponent and who then was stripped of the opportunity to play in the final.
The trend was also growing, if the data is to be believed, before 2018. In the 2018 US Open, Tsitsipas was ahead of