Snakes n’ Ladders: Dolgo’s relief
Originally published on: 01/08/11 10:41
Alexandr Dolgopolov admitted his relief after defeating Marin Cilic at the ATP Studena Croatia Open for his maiden tour title.
The 22-year-old Kiev native was one of just three men – alongside Janko Tipsarevic and Florian Mayer – in the top 25 without a tour title to his name last week, but took his name off that list with a 6-4 3-6 6-3 triumph over the home favourite in Umag.
“I was first in the rankings in Ukraine, but I hadn’t won a title and everyone was talking about that a bit,” said Dolgopolov.
“I’m really happy that I eventually did win [a title], because I was playing pretty well for a year, but still I couldn’t manage to win. It’s a good moment. I’ll keep on working and try and get higher and higher in the rankings.”
Despite defeat, Cilic also showed a semblance of relief after reaching his first final since losing to Robin Soderling in Marseille in February and becoming the first Croatian to make the Umag final since Goran Prpic beat Goran Ivanisevic in 1990.
“I’m really pleased with the way things went this week,” said the 22-year-old. “We haven’t had a Croatian in the final here for 21 years and it was relief I think for all the tournament organisers and also for me to reach the final and be playing well at home.”
In Los Angeles, Ernests Gulbis doubled his career-title tally after defeating Mardy Fish, ranked 75 places above him. Gulbis hit back from the loss of the first set to win a two-hour-43-minute contest and add to his victory at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships in 2010.
“It means a lot to me. It’s my second title,” said Gulbis, who leapt 29 places to No.55 in the world after his triumph. “It gives me a huge boost in confidence. Mardy is No.9 in the world and today I played a good match.”
Fish, meanwhile, hopped back up to his career-high No.8 spot after reaching his second straight final following victory over John Isner at the Atlanta Tennis Championships the weekend before.
“I’ve played a lot of matches the past month and a half, so he came in a little bit fresher than me. I think that played a part,” analysed Fish. “But credit to him. He played well when he needed to… I almost got him in the end but it wasn’t meant to be.”
An-all Spanish final in Gstaad saw Marcel Granollers claim his second ATP Tour title after the 25-year-old defeated Fernando Verdasco 6-4 3-6 6-3 to rise 12 places to a career-high No.33.
“Last week was bad for me because I felt a lot of pain in my arm, which I had felt since Wimbledon,” revealed Granollers. “I went home and rested for five days without any practice, and I came here on Sunday and started to feel better and better. Now I have won the tournament and so it’s amazing.”