US Open 2014: Victor Estrella Burgos gets Dominicans cheering


Flushing Meadows

Grand Slam competitors come in all shapes, colours and sizes, but nobody is quite like Victor Estrella Burgos. Standing at 5ft 8in the world No 80 is short by modern standards, but that is not his main claim to fame.

At the age of 34, after many years competing in the twilight world of the Challenger circuit, he has become the first man from the Dominican Republic to break into the world’s top 100 and the first to take part in a Grand Slam tournament. More than compete, Estrella Burgos has shown he can play.

Having knocked out the Dutchman Igor Sijsling in the first round of the US Open, he beat Borna Coric, a highly rated 17-year-old from Croatia, in the second. It was reported as the largest gap in age between male opponents in the event’s history. Coric, who won the junior title here last year and had crushed the No 29 seed Lukas Rosol in his opening match, was beaten  7-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. For the second match in a row Estrella Burgos enjoyed raucous support from Dominican fans. There is a sizeable Dominican community in the city here, though the sports fans among them are more used to watching players from their baseball-mad country over the road at the home of the New York Mets.

“There were 1,000 Dominicans – and also 1,000 coaches,” Estrella Burgos said. “They were yelling at me all the time: ‘Just serve to the T’ and ‘Keep slicing’. Nothing negative. They want me to win. They’re very excited with my results. The Dominicans are the best fans, cheering for you until the end.”

Before arriving here Estrella Burgos had banked just $485,879 (about £293,000) in his whole career. His two victories this week have already earned him prize money of $105,090 (about £63,000), though he will do well to add to that as he faces Milos Raonic, the world No 6, in the third round today. Estrella Burgos did not play in professional tournaments until he was 26 as he could not afford to travel. He also had to take an eight-month break from the sport after suffering a serious injury to his right elbow in 2012.

“It wasn’t until three years ago that I started to focus on my fitness,” he said. “I can play against anyone with top-quality tennis, but being in shape is the key to sticking on the tour for several more years.”

The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas