Re: one handed tennis, anyone?
First off, I'd like to acknowledge a few one handed news worthy items from the last few days.
Honorable mention goes to Roger Federer for Sunday's hard fought loss to Nadal in the finals of Hamburg.
Another honorable mention goes out to James Blake. Blake, not playing on his best surface as we well know, played the awkward Czech big man Berdych on Sunday and lost 6-7(5), 6-7(5), before rebounding in Dusseldorf today to take out Guilermo Canas, a way more comfortable clay courter than Blake, at the World Team Cup. That might bode well for America's chances when we go down to Argentina for DC.
We have to make mention of talented one handers Mikhail Youzhny and Feliciano Lopez, also in action in Dusseldorf, but the top one handed performer this week has got to be Philip Kohlschreiber, who on Sunday took world #5 David Ferrer out to the woodshed in what may have been Kohly's signature performance to date, dominating the able Spaniard 6-1, 6-0. Keep hope alive for us one handed fans, Philip!
While there are many disappointments to talk about in the world of one handers, and while for much of the week I was leaning toward writing about one, the enigmatic big man from Croatia, Ivan Ljubicic, I had a change of heart, inspired by Philip Kohlschreiber, and decided to use the space to talk about a player who has been a pleasant surprise: Canadian Frank Dancevic.
The 23 year old, sporting his trademark headband, burst on to the scene this summer, announcing himself to the world after having been Canada's first singles player in DC for a few years now. Dancevic stepped into the big leagues while declaring himself a tough out for some good opponents in 2007. The Canadian got his first taste of slam success with a straight set victory down under against Victor Hianescu, only to lose to grand slam champ Lleyton Hewitt in 4 sets in round 2. In Zagreb, Dancevic straighted Alexander Waske before losing to Baghdatis after getting blitzed 7-1 in a first set tie breaker. From there, Dancevic went out to San Jose where he fell to Andy Roddick, then to Memphis where he had another first round loss, this time to Andy Murray, and then on to Vegas where Kunitsyn handed him a first round loss, coming from a set down.
Things would pick up though for the kid. He defeated Waske again @ Indian Wells before losing 7-5 in the third to another great one hander, Fernando Gonzalez. Wilmbledon saw Dancevic to his second grand slam match win, in straights over Stefan Koubek, the feisty Austrian journeyman. Then Dancevic fell in a tight one to David Nalbandian, who was forced to come up with many passing shots in what looked like anybody's match for much of the way.
Frank came back over the pond and had a tremendous summer, defeating 4 quality opponents in Indy, including Juan Martin Del Potro and Andy Roddick in straights in the semis before losing to wild Russian Dimitry Tursunov in the final. Dancevic took his success with him to his native land, where he stayed hot, again defeating Del Potro and Verdasco, before losing a tight qf to Nadal. There are some quality highlights of this match on youtube.
Dancevic had a tough matchup in Flusing, where he drew former champion Marat Safin in round 1, who beat the Canadian in a tight 3 setter, seeing two sets go to exciting tie breakers, the last of which went 9-7 in favor of Safin.
Dancevic receded a bit after that, with the lone highlights being his 3rd victory of the season over Del Potro in Thailand, and a hard fought victory over Wessels in Stockholm in which Dancevic reeled off 35 aces.
Dancevic lost to Jarkko Nimeinen at the AO this year, who also took out our man Kohlschreiber, who could not sustain his level directly after that epic victory over Dandy Andy under the lights.
Though Dancevic has a lot of learning to do as a player, he has garnered great experience in playing 5 set DC matches and doubles for Canada since 2002. Though hurt of late, the Canadian seems to be healthy again, although we don't truly expect much of him on clay.
Dancevic is well suited to grass court tennis and should have a shot to make some noise at Wimbledon, where he could be an interesting sleeper choice to pull an upset or two. With an aggressive style, Dancevic is not afraid to go for his shots and come to net, and his serve is definitely the hallmark of his game at this point. Who wouldn't love to see a rematch of Dancevic/Da-veed @ SW-19 this year?
We love the kid, despite him being a Toronto Maple Leafs fan (Lets Go Rangers!). Dancevic is Canada's best singles player in years and having reached a career high of #65 last summer, it isn't outrageous to think he may at some point crack #46, which would make him Canada's most highly ranked singles player ever.
Trivia: Anybody know who he'd be surpassing? We'll get to the answer during the week if nobody knows it.
We should also mention that Dancevic came up through the NCAAS, and was a Georgia Bulldog, as was American giant John Isner, and that Frank Dancevic made his first ATP doubles final also in 2007, again proving the kid is an old school, well rounded player who should soon improve on his current ranking position just outside the top 100.
CBS Sportsline and the ATP Official Website were valuable resources for providing details on this Canadian who has a shot because he goes for his shots.
Best of luck to the Canadian as the season heats up!
TopSpinSports.com (check out this great site for online instruction and much more!)
Last edited by crackbillionair; 05-21-2008 at 03:26 AM.