Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How far can Alexandr Dolgopolov go?

In case you didn't know—which would be hard with me mentioning it hundreds of times!—I got to cover the U.S. Open for Tennis View Magazine. It was as amazing an experience as you could imagine. I got to see a LOT of tennis and develop an even greater appreciation for some of them, like Sam Stosur, for instance.

One other player I really enjoyed watching was the "Dog," Alexandr Dolgopolov. I caught some of each of his matches, from the first round to that fourth-round battle with Novak Djokovic. Those two played an amazing first-set tiebreak with Djokovic coming through at the end of it. From then on, Djoko steamrolled through the next two sets.

Dolgopolov did leave the crowd wondering, "How does he do that?" and also thinking, "That guy's a pusher—with a 130 mph serve!" He can lull you to sleep with crosscourt slice backhands, then pound a winner when you least expect it off either side. He's got good hands at the net and knows the court like the back of his hand.

So with all that court sense and savvy, how high can he get in the rankings? Djokovic noted in his press conference that "Dog" needs to be a little more consistent. I guess in regard to that it'll be interesting to see if in the next couple of years he's willing to tone down his game.

He's the third seed at the ATP stop in Metz this week and plays his first match against another top shotmaker, Marcos Baghdatis, which should come down to who's the steadier player. Dolgopolov would do well to hit the heights that Baghdatis has: a top 10 ranking and a Slam final. Can he do it?

I know one thing, he'll keep the fans entertained as he figures it out!

(Photo: Getty Images)