Argentine Juan Martin del Potro became the first player to reach the semifinals of the Mutua Madrid Open after eliminating Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3 6-4 in just under 1 hour and 30 minutes.
The fast blue clay at this year’s tournament suits both player’s games and alth0ugh Delpo was being picked by many pundits as a clear favourite before the match, Dolgopolov is always able to mix the cards up (just like he did when beating Tsonga yesterday).
The no.10 seeded Argentine was going into the match with 9 consecutive wins on clay after his victory in Estoril and he had a positive 2-0 head to head record against the Ukrainian .
Del Potro got off to a better start and managed to take Dolgopolov’s serve in the fourth game to go 3-1 up. It almost seemed that the Ukrainian was eager to go for the big shots, whereas the Argentine played a bit more calmly and waited for his chances to attack. Despite Dolgopolov breaking back in the 7th game, he couldn’t consolidate and Del Potro served out the set to give himself a lead in the match.
The Madrid crowd witnessed only one break of serve in the second set, and it was Delpo again who struck in the 5th game. When it mattered most, the Argentine stepped up to the ball and came up with some brilliant groundstrokes. Especially Dolgopolov’s second serve was vulnerable and he got under pressure even before the rally started. Delpo held serve comfortably till the end and booked a semifinal encounter against the winner of the match between Czech’s Berdych and Spain’s Verdasco.