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March 13, 2014

Alexandr Dolgopolov


6‑3, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Can you talk about the importance of your first serve today?
ALEXANDR DOLGOPOLOV:  I don't know what was the stats, but I don't think I served quite well as I did the whole tournament because the ball is a little bit fast here and I couldn't get my percentage high.
But happily it's working in the important moments.  You know, when I concentrate and I'm not doing a good percentage but I'm serving some good serves on the break points, on big points.

Q.  You actually won 90% of the points when your first serve was in.
ALEXANDR DOLGOPOLOV:  Yeah.  I mean, I was quite good on the baseline, but I don't think the percentage of the serves in was too good.
With that I'm not really happy.  But, I mean, I'm winning.  I'm playing well on the baseline and probably I'm serving quite big, so that's why I can win more points.  But the percentage goes down.  It's working for now.  Why change it (smiling)?

Q.  Were you seeing the ball like a watermelon today, especially on his serve?
ALEXANDR DOLGOPOLOV:  I was quite fast today.  I was really happy with that.  And I was able to get more returns than usually you can against him.  You know, he serves really big and I knew I had to do that, and I'm quite pleased how I anticipated on his serve and have seen the toss of the ball and was really, really concentrated to get those serves back.

Q.  It was a long time ago since you reached a quarterfinal of the Australian Open ‑ 2011, I think.  How does your game compare now to then?  What's improved?  Do you feel a better player?
ALEXANDR DOLGOPOLOV:  I think it's more mature, probably.  I mean, nothing generally you can improve like dramatically, you know.
It's everything a little bit.  Obviously if you're ranked 20, 30, 40 you're a good enough player.  And to get in the top 10 you just need all those small things to be together and to be solid.
I mean, obviously if you jump really high then maybe you're No. 1 then, but it's really small differences from the players that are top 10 and top 50.  I don't think I changed a lot and it's working good; I'm staying healthy; I'm doing all the things I did but a little bit better.

Q.  It's been a fairly unusual tournament results‑wise.  I think there is only one guy in the top 6 who made the quarters here, which is pretty unusual for a Masters.  Your results have been a part of it.  Do you think there is a different mood in the locker room among the rest of the guys?  Milos said seeing Stan winning the Australian Open gave him belief that other guys can beat the top guys more often.  Have you felt that at all?
ALEXANDR DOLGOPOLOV:  Yeah, I think that's been felt already a few years since those guys have started losing some matches, some unpredictable matches.
Of course they are still really strong and they are still winning most of the tournaments, but players have understanded that already, not today or not yesterday, that they are beatable.
So that's why you get more chances.  You trouble the top guys.  Now the draw has evened up a little bit.  Still they are favorites and still at the top of the ranking, but as you said, the players know that there is always a chance now.  Not like three, four years ago.  Most of the players came out on the court and not really believing that they can win.
So now I think that's changed a little bit.

Q.  For you personally, is that belief also increased over the last couple of years?
ALEXANDR DOLGOPOLOV:  Yeah.  I mean, with my game I always believed I can beat anyone on a good day because I hit flat.  I have the shots.  I wasn't consistent enough, that's true.  But I knew if I can get that consistency that I can trouble anyone.
I mean, it's just a point to execute it and to get to that level.  So I knew that for a long time.

Q.  You have gone pretty high in the rankings without reaching this stage of a Masters event.  Talk about that in your career.  Is it important?  Does it make you proud?
ALEXANDR DOLGOPOLOV:  I think the ranking normally in most of the, how do you say it, most of the ways, it shows your level of play.  I mean, obviously you can‑‑ on the tour you cannot really find free points a lot.  So it doesn't really matter.
Of course it's better to play on the bigger stages at the bigger tournaments.  But you play good and win smaller tournaments and you're ranked high, you're still a quality player.
I wouldn't say I think about it, where I get my points.  I just think about my game all the time.  If you play well, you get chances everywhere.
That's it.

Q.  Are you confident enough right now to win two more matches?
ALEXANDR DOLGOPOLOV:  We'll see.  Why not?  I played good for three weeks.  I'm quite fresh.  I felt good physically today.
I'm confident enough to come out and play good tennis.  Then who knows, you know?  I beat a lot of good players around here, so I wouldn't see why not win more matches.
I'll just come out, do my best, and of course it's going to be really tough because it's semis or finals.  No bad players left and no players not in the top form now.
We'll see how it goes.  I will just do my best.

Q.  Can you talk about the next round?  You're probably going to have winner of Kevin versus Roger.  Can you talk about both of them and that effort?
ALEXANDR DOLGOPOLOV:  Well, I mean, Roger, what do you want me to say (smiling)?
He's been around (smiling).
I mean, there is not much to say really with Roger.  Roger is Roger.  He's playing well, you can see, this year.  Obviously there is not much to say.
Kevin, you can see the last tournaments he beat me in Acapulco.  He was playing really, really solid.  I think he's got much more solid on the baseline.  Still with a giant serve.  It makes problems.
As we can see yesterday, he beat Wawrinka.  I mean, there is not much to say about these guys.  It's pretty simple.  You see the same players.  There's no one new.  You know they are playing well.  It's a semis of a Masters.
I'll come out, I'll talk to my team, what I need to do, depending on who will win, and then we see how the match goes.  It's a new day.

Q.  Can you entertain the thought that if you do play Roger you have an opportunity to beat both Roger and Rafa in the same tournament?  That's very rare.
ALEXANDR DOLGOPOLOV:  I don't think that's something that my goal is.  My goal is to be on the top as high as I can, to play with these guys, to enjoy tennis, to win matches, to win tournaments.
I mean, of course it's really nice to win against those names, but, I mean, they are players.  They can win; they can lose.  Of course they are great players, but I wouldn't be thinking that on the match at all.
It's a semifinal.  Doesn't matter if I play Roger or No. 100.  I'm on the match, I'm on the court, and I try to win the match.

Q.  You said Roger is Roger, but just talk about what makes that guy so special.  What do you think the one or two things are?
ALEXANDR DOLGOPOLOV:  Maybe 17 Grand Slams (Laughter.)  I mean, his wins obviously what makes him special.  Like any of us who are doing the same thing, playing the sport, and his wins were quite impressive over the years.
That's a tough question to answer.  What can I say?  What make him special?  He was winning.  He was No. 1.  He's got a lot‑‑ most of the records possible in the sport.  I mean, that's why I said, There is no need to speak about him much, because he's been at the top for years.
Still it doesn't matter how old is he now, he's still winning tournaments and conquering the best.  I mean, what can you say (smiling)?

Q.  You decided to sign and throw your shoes again today.  What's the process or why do you like doing that?
ALEXANDR DOLGOPOLOV:  I mean, it's better to throw them to people, I guess, than throw them in the litter box.  Because the surface is really grippy.  I slide a lot, and when I drag my left leg it's usually‑‑ if I need to run a lot on the match, like today I needed to defend well, and against Rafa I needed to run a lot‑‑ it's usually one pair of shoes for me for a match.
So if there is a hole in the middle of the shoe, I'm going to throw it out.  It's better to give it to the people, I guess.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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