Alex Dolgopolov has enjoyed the best run of his career and this promises to be only the start. His swing through Latin American and the USA saw him reach a final, two semifinals and a quarterfinal, which was his last result.
Alex was defeated by Tomas Berdych in the quarters of the Sony Open Tennis in Miami 6-4, 7-6 but it was a match that could have gone three sets at least as Alex did have a set point at 5-3 in the second. While disappointed he was not able to capitalise, Alex is still delighted with what he has achieved and takes plenty of positives away with him.
“I mean, that I can still compete in the way I was feeling today, and even though I was disconcentrated a little bit, so I can still compete with a player like that,” he said. “That’s great for me. I mean, I don’t have too much emotions now. I just want to get away from the ball and the court and the tournaments for some time.
“I mean, that’s pretty much what I can take. I don’t think technically or physically there was much. I mean, I played good and bad and all around the place, but overall I wasn’t very terrible, so I’m happy with that, because, I mean, walking on the match I wanted to sleep and I was completely somewhere out there.
“So taking that in (perspective), I think I have done quite well, even this match. I’m obviously not happy to lose. I had set point in the second set on my serve, so I had chances to go three sets, and first set I was a break up.
“I mean, it happens, and I’m happy to finish the series that I have done for seven weeks.”
There is no doubt he has worked hard this season and that has also been possible because he is fully fit; there are no niggling injuries and as a result he is “really happy to be playing better again”.
There is a refreshing and revitalised approach to his tennis. He says he is a perfectionist, so someone can even tell him that he is playing well but if he is not happy with certain aspects, then he won’t say he is playing perfect tennis. He said: “It’s tough for me to say that something is perfect.”
With that sort of attitude, things can only keep going up. Alex will take a few days off now which he will spend with family and friends and his “wild” car at home. He will then start training for the clay which he is really looking forward to.
Alexandr Dolgopolov is certainly disappointed that he was not able to take another step forward at the BNP Paribas Open but he also know there are plenty of positive that will be taken away from the tournament, a tournament that saw him become the first Ukrainian player to defeated a reigning world No.1 when he beat Rafael Nadal.
Alex’s giant killing run was stopped only by Roger Federer, in the semifinals, 6-3, 6-1 in windy conditions that he found awkward to adjust to. He said he missed too many returns that normally he would be on top of and he found that the ball was flying a bit more than normal. He admitted that his concentration waivered on occasion which he knows is something that he can ill afford to do, especially against someone like Federer.
Still, he didn’t feel that he was playing a bad match.
“I was really feeling good physically and mentally, so I was just trying to play every point,” said Alex. “Even the second set, even when I was two breaks down, I was trying to play every point. From the start of the match I was just not good enough to compete with him today.
“He was, as I said, playing better and better, so that wasn’t helping me at all. He wasn’t giving me any free points. I mean, my serve wasn’t there, a lot of things that I mean, with those things I didn’t deserve to win today.”
While it was a tough loss, Alex knows that the trend he is following is moving in the right direction … in the last few weeks he has been in a final, a semifinal and now the semis of an ATP Masters 1000. It will move his world ranking to about 24.
“It’s been great,” he said. “You know, I have come here, I didn’t have too much time after Acapulco. I had a few days off, and then practicing again. In three days I played already my match, even though I was already seeded. So it’s been great. I had some good matches. Really confident on the court. Clean strokes. Healthy. So I think I’m in a good position.
“Even though the match was easy today. The score I mean, the score was easy. A lot of games I was, you know, leading or I had chances, but I can’t say I’m really frustrated from the loss. I did what I can. I was fighting every point. I’m looking forward for Miami.
“A little bit, of course, tired already because I had a long swing. I didn’t go home since Chile, which was six weeks ago. So a little bit tired, but I’m ready to play. I think I’m in a good position. I need to fight and try to do good in Miami, you know. Once you’re on a roll, why not take those chances?”