• Umag - Dolgopolov and Cilic battle for Croatia Open title

    7/31/11 5:16 AM | Cheryl Murray
    Umag - Dolgopolov and Cilic battle for Croatia Open title Hometown favorite Marin Cilic will take on Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine, each vying for his first title of 2011.

    Alexandr Dolgopolov might have the slight ranking advantage over Marin Cilic (Dolgopolov is ranked 26 in the world, Cilic is 31), but Cilic will have the overwhelming support of the Croatian crowd on his side in Sunday’s final.

    The two men have never played an ATP match. If current form is any indication, Dolgopolov will have a slight advantage. The Ukrainian played a magnificent match in the semifinals against Juan Carlos Ferrero to secure a straight set win and a chance to take on Cilic in the finals.

    Cilic played well to take out Fabio Fognini of Italy, but the truth is that Fognini didn’t really put up much of a fight. Expect this to be an interesting match-up. Dolgopolov’s craftiness against Cilic’s big hitting.

    Prediction – Dolgopolov for the win in 3 tight sets.

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Both are players whom I like so whoever wins I'm happy. It will be Dolgo's first title if he wins and so will be something special. I'm also happy that Cilic has finally started to play well again, with a narrow loss to Youzhny at Hamburg last week in the QF, and now he's in the final. Maybe he can play well enough to win the title this time?

luckystar , 7/31/11 4:55 PM

This shall be Dolgos first title?
What, ever?!
Surely you mean this year!
Shows you how strong this era truly is if such a talent as dolgolovvolop(!?) has yet to get a single title, even @ the 250 level.
In this regard, I am totally & unequivocally with the Nadal fans.
Oh & so is Roger Federer, who also believes that the present era is so 'very deep' & is proud to be playing his part in it....

Sosueme , 7/31/11 6:30 PM

Nice one Dolgo! First title ... Congratulations!

smr , 7/31/11 10:31 PM

I agree about the depth in the mens game. It has all to do with the many "older" players who are still going strong (>26). Never in the atp history the amount of oldies was as strong as in this era. Hereby strengthening the claim that the previous era was very strong indeed. That the youngsters have so difficult time in breaking trough is just a tribute to that era. Of course Nadalis the odd one out. He is Haute Categor. especially on clay where he got most of his points and wins from during is first few years on the tour.

Sienna , 8/1/11 10:17 AM

Yes, but it's not just about talent, it's about endless hard work and consistency. Think Gulbis.

deuce , 8/1/11 11:00 AM

How many above 26 in the top ten? Furthermore, Sod shouldn't be classified in Fed's age group, as he joined the tours after 2000. So effectively there are only three from Fed's batch in the top ten now. In fact it is Rafa's batch that's on top of the game now, led by Nole, Rafa. In the top twenty, there are 12 from Rafa's batch, 2 from Murray/Delpo's batch and 6 from Fed's batch. I don't see Fed's batch as any stronger than Rafa's batch.

In fact, among Fed's batch of players, after Fed became TMF, only Safin and Gardio won a slam each during Fed's reign. Rafa had won five slams and Nole one slam during Fed's 2004 to mid 2008 reign as no.1, and in 2009 when Fed was no.1, Delpo did beat him to get his USO title. To me Rafa's batch is equally outstanding if not better than Fed's batch of players. The fact that Rafa, Nole and Murray all were inside the top ten and holding the top four positions since 2008, when the previous batch of players were still mostly in their prime, ie between 25-27, speaks volume about the strength of Rafa's batch of players, especailly these three guys.

Other than 2005, where Rafa played more clay tournaments, I don't see him as using mostly his clay ranking points to earn his no.2 ranking. After all his hard and grass court points( esp grass where he was runner up at the Wimbleon in 2006-2007) was not that far off Roddick's and Davy's in 2006&2007 respectively. It's Roddick and Davy who were not good on clay to beat Rafa to the no.2 ranking. I can only say that Rafa needed his clay ranking points to chase after Fed for the no.1 position. Even in 2008 where Rafa finally overtook Fed for the no.1 spot, his clay ranking points only contributed to 37% of his overall ranking points.

luckystar , 8/1/11 11:33 AM


Actually my opinion as to why this is a very hard era to break through for young players
is that its due to Nadal's eventual dominance, not despite it!
And its for one very simple reason, he made the game much more physically demanding.
Ie more about strength, endurance, & determination and less about the previous Federer model values (ie speed, agility, and ball control) & these are things that take a long time to develop once on the tour.
In fact I doubt very much we shall see a Boris Becker like debutante spring on to the scene again unless he is freakishly exceptional in the maturity stakes because of this.
Can I ask you which of the older players on the tour you are referring to?

Sosueme , 8/1/11 1:33 PM

Actually, Rafa brings the game to another level. Fed's speed, agility and ball control, Rafa also has them, and he adds his own brand of power, determination, mental toughness and focus. While Fed's is about attackiing tennis, Rafa's is about defence and offence, which may explain why Rafa is the first player who can beat Fed so often, as he simply is so quick and get to so many balls that Fed hit at him and return with interest. Rafa, Murray and Simon simply have that much of anticipatory skills to read Fed's game a bit better than the rest and get to his shots on time.

luckystar , 8/1/11 2:01 PM

Oh I wasn't suggesting that Puss n Boots didn't have agility and ball control etc Lucky, & you're correct.
I really meant Rafa changed the emphasis I suppose, which can almost be taken as a response to Federers previous style of dominance.
When you see a tennis match (as opposed to watching it on TV),
It is striking the way some players can move & anticipate where the ball is going to go (Like M Bear) & any counterpuncher worth their salt certainly needs this ability if they are going to hang tough with an attacking all-courter player like the Fed.

Sosueme , 8/1/11 2:22 PM

A few weeks ago I went into detail to show the strength of the previous Era. Holdie acknowledged and embrased my views. I could even back it up with a nice article from bleacher. Holdie was not impressed with bleachreport, only to findout later that she actually in some way is connected to bleacherreport.
Anywayz the article was nicely written and full of data with proof of my statement you could look it up yourself. Have a good one.

Sienna , 8/1/11 3:21 PM

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