It had been five years since Alexandr Dolgopolov raised an ATP title, and the Ukrainian has been mired in a slump that stretched from the end of 2016 into 2017, but that changed dramatically this week on the red clay in Buenos Aires.
Dolgopolov and his slappy groundstokes hit their way to a third career title and first since 2012 on Sunday, upsetting top-seeded Kei Nishikori 7-6(5), 6-4 for the Argentina Open title.
Dolgopolov was 1-10 in his last 11 matches entering Buenos Aires.
“I think you can call it a perfect week,” Dolgopolov said. “I didn’t lose a set and beat Kei for the first time.”
He was 0-5 career versus Nishikori entering the final.
Dolgopolov didn’t drop a set all week, en route to the final toppling No. 2 seed Pablo Cuevas and No. 4 seed Pablo Carreno Busta. In the final he edged the first-set breaker, then in the second broke at 3-3 and held the advantage the rest of the way.
Nishikori fell to 11-11 in career finals and 0-2 in 2017 after losing in the Brisbane championship match. He is now 2-4 in career claycourt finals.
“I’m glad to be here in the final,” Nishikori said. “Unfortunately I lost today, but Alex played better than me. I didn’t play badly, so hopefully I can keep up this level.”
The 28-year-old Dolgopolov improved to 3-4 in career finals, adding to titles at 2012 Washington and 2011 Umag.
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