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Spanish tennis star Alejandro Davidovic Fokina sent a scare through the US Open after collapsing in a painful fit of cramps late in the fifth set of his first round match.
The 29th seed was locked in a titanic struggle against Argentina's Marco Trungelletti when he fell to the ground in agony.
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In a remarkable display of sportsmanship, the Argentine player immediately went to check on his opponent, helping Fokina to his feet.
Incredibly, the displays of sportsmanship were only just beginning.
Fokina knew he was done for the day, but after a short break, served out the match to hand Trungelletti the win, rather than a default.
Trungelletti then helped Fokina packs his bags and limp off the court, to a brief applause from the smattering of fans in attendance.
It marked the first time the 31-year-old Trungelletti had progressed to the second round of the US Open.
The incredible sportsmanship between the pair was quickly hailed on social media.
— Tennis GIFs 🎾🎥 (@tennis_gifs) August 31, 2021
Scenes, scenes on ct 7. Davidovich Fokina cramps BAD serving at 4-5 30 all in the fifth v. Trungeletti. After trainers come in, hits a serve without moving legs, and Trungeletti finishes it. At 31, Marco makes the 2nd round at #USOpen for a 1st time, carries ADF's bag off court pic.twitter.com/X7L0MhobO9
— Timmy Lew (@TimmyLew11) August 31, 2021
Crazy scenes at the end of Davidovich Fokina and Trungelliti. ADF could have easily pulled out at match point down but wanted to finish the game despite hardly being able to move. Lots of respect between the 2 players at the end of the match - great to see.
— The Tennis 360 (@TheTennis3601) August 31, 2021
Then D-F served the last point so T could "win" rather than advance by default, and T walked him off the court and helped him pack up his stuff. pic.twitter.com/mi6WVnoRg4
— Goutam Jois (@goutamjois) August 31, 2021
Wow, I have a lot of respect for Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
The Spaniard falls to the ground in pain while serving to stay in the match during the fifth set.
This sets up a match point for Trungellitti.
Though he can barely walk, ADF gets up to serve out the last point.
— Drew Frey (@drewfrey99) August 31, 2021
The Argentine will go down as a 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 6-7, 6-4 winner.
The result comes as a cruel blow to Fokina though, with the Spaniard having recently achieved a career-high ranking of 32.
Aussie Popyrin into US Open second round
Alexei Popyrin has revealed the "brain fart" that restored his mojo after living up to his pre-tournament billing to be the first Australian through to the second round of the US Open.
Tipped for a deep run by former champion Lleyton Hewitt, Popyrin rode his big serve to a 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-3 victory over Radu Albot on day one at Flushing Meadows.
The 22-year-old crunched 13 aces, won 81 per cent of points after landing his first delivery and faced just one break point in 20 service games.
Popyrin broke his Moldovan opponent four times.
Showcasing his slick all-round game, the former French Open junior champion also claimed 20 points at the net in advancing after two hours, 37 minutes.
After a series of early-round defeats, Popyrin said three wins last week had renewed his belief before the year's final grand slam in New York.
"The last couple of months have been pretty tough, pretty s*** to be honest," he said.
"I haven't won many matches.
"The week before the US Open, I played Winston-Salem and had a bit of a brain fart before that. I forgot to enter the tournament.
"So I had to qualify when I should have been playing main draw, but I think that actually did me pretty well.
"I got two matches where I won, got the confidence back up a little bit, and had a rematch with Stevie Johnson who I played a couple of weeks before that and lost to him.
"I beat him and had a really good match against (Carlos) Alcaraz where the level was just insane and after that I came here feeling somewhat back to the confidence that I had at the start of the year."
Popyrin's reward for his defeat of Albot is a crack at 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov on Thursday after Bulgaria's 2019 Open semi-finalist cruised past American wildcard Sam Riffice 6-1 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 in his opener.
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