His match against St. John’s Prep’s Ruslan Chowdhury in the finals of the Mayor’s Cup tournament at the National Tennis Center contrasted with his other…
By Mitch Abramson
Benjamin Cardozo’s Alex Dobrin didn’t throw any rackets and he kept his chatter down to a minimum.
His match against St. John’s Prep’s Ruslan Chowdhury in the finals of the Mayor’s Cup tournament at the National Tennis Center contrasted with his other matches when the volatile senior tested the patience of his coach Howie Arons and the line judges around him.
On Sunday, Dobrin minded his manners and dominated Chowdhury 6-2, 6-3 to become the third player in PSAL history to win four postseason championships in one season: Dobrin won the individual and team championships in both the Mayor’s Cup and PSAL tournament.
Dobrin not only modified his temperament on the court, but he also changed the way he played his points. The final was the second meeting this season between the seniors; the first time they played, Chowdhury, a powerfully-built baseliner, beat Dobrin handily in an Eastern Sectional Tournament, 7-6, 6-0.
Dobrin made the mistake of trying to equal Chowdhury’s awesome velocity the first meeting, but on Sunday, he put more spin on the ball and less pacing on his shots, and he won the final game of the match on three drop shots.
“Today, I was cool, calm and collected,” said the Flushing resident. “That was the key to the win. Everybody kept telling me about my [on-court] behavior and about talking during the match. Even the judges were telling me that I have to stop talking. I just let it flow and everything came together for me. I thought he was maybe going for a little much on the big points.”
Dobrin broke Chowdhury, who lost in last year's final, in the second and fourth games to take a commanding 4-1 lead. Up 5-2 with Chowdhury serving and the score tied at deuce, Dobrin lofted a deep approach shot that was returned into net for the first set.
“Today I was off,” said fourth-seeded Chowdhury. “He played me totally differently this match, and I didn’t stay with him like I should have.”
Third-seeded Dobrin, was out to prove that last year’s semifinal match was a fluke when he had to retire because of a strained back. The day before the final, Dobrin endured a two-and-a-half hour semifinal match that went to a tie breaker in the third set.
Curling around the court like a burglar and hitting winner after winner to capture his first Mayor’s Cup crown, Dobrin showed no ill-effects from that marathon.
“I couldn’t dream the end of my high school career any better,” he said.
By David Chen and Steve Nieman winning the doubles title, 6-4 6-2, Benjamin Cardozo proved that its tennis program is once again perched atop the city looking down at everyone else. The top-seeded doubles team didn’t drop a set all tournament and finished the season undefeated.
“This was my first Mayor’s Cup final,” said Nieman, who became the first freshmen at Cardozo to win four championships. “I didn’t understand all the pressure that was involved. David helped me when I was down, and I helped him when he needed it.”
Reach Mitch Abramson by E-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 130.