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The Big Yin & The Little Ukrainian.

Posted by gauloises1 on January 24, 2011

And in ‘matches few saw coming’, Andy Murray will face Alexandr Dolgopolov in the quarter-finals after the latter upset Robin Soderling in five sets.

This may have been the first year that Soderling made it past the second round in Melbourne, but it was still a fantastic match from Dolgopolov, who after a slow start never really looked like losing. More than anything, it was his sheer lightning speed around the court that did for Soderling, who looked slow and lumbering against Dolgopolov’s brilliant retrieving. He defended everything and consistently put Soderling in uncomfortable positions, drawing the error or stinging the Swede with his backhand down the line.

Soderling was visibly frustrated on the court, and wasn’t playing his best, although in this kind of match it’s hard to tell how much comes from the irritatingly brilliant defense down the other end of the court and how much it just wasn’t his day. My theory, for what it’s worth, is that he misses Magnus. Would he have lost if he had that calming, handsome presence benevolently smiling and occasionally nodding at him from his box?

R.I.P. true love.

Not to take anything away from Dolgopolov. The lost Bondarenko brother’s blend of patient aggression and ability to hit winners on the run is very reminiscent of Andy Murray, in fact, so it could be an interesting match in the quarters. Nobody counterpunches better than Murray, though, so I’m betting that Dolgopolov’s shining run of wins against big hitters will come to an end in the next round. Well … I’m hoping. Murray was totally dominant in a 63 61 61 victory over Jurgen Melzer, although I think the support of a certain Billy Connolly may have had something to do with it.

Who could lose with this in their box?!

I just wanted to use these photos.

5 Responses to “The Big Yin & The Little Ukrainian.”

  1. AmyLu said

    I was completely captivated by Dolgopolov — I find him really fun to watch. JJ kept calling him a “jackrabbit,” and I liked that description for him. After getting blown out in the first set and going down a break in the second, JJ and I noticed two things that seemed to turn the match around for him:

    He stopped serving second serves to Soderling’s backhand. Soderling was absolutely killing him with that return.

    He seemed to be understand Soderling’s pace, and once he got used to it, he seemed to like it. He certainly had no problems absorbing it and redirecting it!

    I was disappointed, though, on behalf of Soderling. I’ve become quite a fan in the past year or two, and I can’t quite figure out what happened. I don’t know why he kept going to Dolgopolov’s forehand — he had much more like when he played more to the backhand. And, as Cahill pointed out on our broadcast, it would have been nice to see him try something different. Cahill thought it would be better to give Dolgopolov balls with less pace, and in particular high balls to the backhand side to see if he could generate anything on his own. I know that’s not normally Soderling’s game, but when your game is not working, I think trying something new is not such a bad thing.

  2. Carrie said

    I am so glad you are back!

    I also find Dolgo a lot of fun to watch but have had few months as he is rarely on a televised court. But yesterday- what a performance to have on a televised court. I was so happy for him,

    I was really impressed with how he adapted to Soderling’s game- he seemed more like the vet player at times than Soderling (who looked a little confused at times but at least this was his best showing ever at the AO). I like Dolgo’s variety and craftiness- and was really impressed with his demeanor. One thing that really struck me was that he kept fighting in the 4th set when I think a number of players would have been ready to move onto the 5th set.

    I hope the match with Murray is interesting and entertaining and not a blow out. They can both mix things up so it could be fun. I think Murray will win for sure- but I hope it is not a beat down.

    I have had a soft spot for Dolgo for a while now – despite the hairdo that must be the result of an ill-fated deal he made with a malevolent magical creature. And it is so much FUN in tennis when a player that you have had your eye on for a while starts to break through. I hope it continues (and his health problems are kept at bay.)

  3. neilintoronto said

    Also,it looks like that’s John Lithgow to the left of Mr. Connolloy, double the comedic fun

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