I first saw Alexei Popyrin at the Australian Open during a practice before his match against Dominic Thiem which he won due to retirement of the Austrian.
He gave Lucas Pouille a good run for five sets and has had a steady year for the recently turned 20 year old who began his year ranked at 149, found a career high of 87 but has slipped back outside top 100.
Alexei is what I would call a clean hitter the ball, he has a big baseline game and a very good net game. He had Pat Cash in his box at Wimbledon and he spoke about the intention to use his skills more and come into the net.
I saw him play very well on his Wimbledon debut against Pablo Carreno Busta winning 7-6 7-5 6-2 against the Spaniard hitting 56 winners, 25 unforced errors and winning 28/41 points at the net.
I was impressed from what I saw of Alexei at Flushing Meadows but I did think he made things slightly difficult for himself.
At the net I thought he was superb, over his three matches he won 85 points out of a possible 113 which is a very good return.
At 6’5″ I’d want more from his serve. I did feel like it was rolled in a little and could get himself some cheap points off it with a bit more power. We saw him use the serve out-wide quite well but didn’t go for it and there were too many balls coming back.
Think back to that win against Carreno Busta, he served super well and controlled the ground strokes winning more than double of winners compared to unforced errors.
In Flushing Meadows the count was;
156 unforced errors
It was quite heavy from Alexei who in his four set defeat to Berrettini it just didn’t add up.
I like his game, he is young so is still finding his game but there needs to be a bit more intensity.
I love the fact that he throws in a drop shot from the back of the court and his court coverage as well as his presence at the net is soo good.
We can talk all day about forehands and backhands but without his excellent movement he couldn’t pull this off.
Perfect backhand cross-court winner from Alexei. The way he backs into that position allows him to take his time and find the shot and even a possibility of going down the line.
Another good backhand from Popyrin, another clean winner from the Australian who is having a good breakthrough and could make it to the NextGen Finals in Milan which I hope he does!
Going forward there is a lot to be excited about for Alexei and if he can up his intensity and find some more zap off his serve he could be one to watch out for!