ShareThis Page
Other Local

Briton rolls into tennis quarterfinals at Mt. Lebanon

| Thursday, July 5, 2012, 7:30 p.m.

Walk around Mt. Lebanon Tennis Complex, and it won't be long before talk about Wimbledon surfaces.

Nadal's out? Serena's in the final? Who the heck is Brian Baker?

Pardon Alex Bogdanovic if he abstains. Bogdanovic played at Wimbledon from 2002-09, winning just three of 27 sets, first-round flops every time.

That was a long time ago, the British left-hander will tell you, back when his career was marked by injuries and unfulfilled promise.

Bogdanovic, the No. 1 seed at the PNC Men's Futures of Pittsburgh, is in a different place these days, one without so much as a coach or sponsorship — but one with a renowned love of the game.

“When you get to my age (28) and with the ranking that I have (363), it's very difficult to get sponsorships,” Bogdanovic said. “I'm out here trying to work my way back to where I was — and maybe do even better.”

Bogdanovic looked dominant during his 6-1, 6-0 win over Robert Rotaru on Thursday, showing off an effortless backhand, power and guile.

Bogdanovic will meet Joel Kielbowicz in the quarterfinals and could face local favorite Bjorn Fratangelo, the No. 3 seed, in Saturday's semifinal round.

Fratangelo advanced with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Daniel Stahl, though he received medical attention for back stiffness after breaking Stahl's serve midway through the second set.

“I've learned how to manage myself pretty well,” said Fratangelo, who won three of the final four games as Stahl came unglued, double-faulting and committing several unforced errors. “I'm getting through it.”

Bogdanovic can relate.

After turning pro in 2002, Bogdanovic struggled to find consistency but chalked it up to inexperience. Logical for someone still in his early 20s.

By 2007, Bogdanovic had figured it out and achieved his best ranking (No. 132), but severe back spasms and a ruptured disc derailed his game.

“For it to happen at that moment, it was like, ‘Why now?'” Bogdanovic said. “But that experience was really good for me because I look back on it, and, at the same time, maybe I wasn't ready for the top 100 yet.”

Though he admits the lack of success at Wimbledon was more mental than physical, the back pain didn't help. Neither did shin splints, which came along in 2010.

After turning to yoga and Pilates, which Bogdanovic does three times a week, the back has never felt so good, his legs so mobile, his game so fluid.

“For me right now,” he said, “it's just about trying to enjoy every moment.”

Notes: At the National Collegiate Clay Court Championships/West Penn Amateur, 13-year-old Anna Smith (Venetia) reached the final in girls singles after her semifinal opponent withdrew due to a death in the family. Smith plays the winner of Friday's 10 a.m. semifinal between Sarah Shashura (Duquesne) and Taylor Washington. ... Joseph Van Meter will face Alex Sidney in the boys singles final Friday. ... Sidney teamed with Van Damrongsri to win the boys doubles title. ... The girls doubles final featuring Spencer Caravaggio and Taylor Perz against Shashura and Chandler Consonery will take place after the girls singles final.

Jason Mackey is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me