After both competitors needed three sets to dispatch their opening round opponents, Latvian No. 1 Ernests Gulbis and Alexandr Dolgopolov will meet for a spot in the third round of the Mutua Madrid Masters. This marks the third time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with the series tied at 1-1.
World No. 20 Gulbis had a strong performance in his entertaining match-up against Jerzy Janowicz, who is ranked one spot below him but was riding a seven-match losing streak dating back to Rotterdam. After dropping the second set, Gulbis recovered to close out the match 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-2. He hit a whopping 18 aces in the process.
Next for Gulbis is a match-up against Alexandr Dolgopolov, whom he defeated earlier this season in Monte Carlo
Dolgopolov extended his undefeated streak to 5-0 against the Italian No. 1 on Tuesday afternoon, as he defeated Fognini in three sets to advance to the second round of the competition. The two competitors were locked in a fierce battle on Tuesday afternoon, with ended 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in favour of the world No. 22. Next for the top ranked Ukrainian is his second encounter with Gulbis in as many months.
Looking ahead to his clash with Gulbis, Dolgopolov said, “He has all the shots. Sometimes he just gets a little bit angry on the court, which can affect his game. But apart from that, he can play unbelievable. He can play a match and you don’t see the ball. It’s tough to play him. You don’t know how good he’s going to be. I’ll need to make him play a lot of shots and maybe he can make a few errors. I’ll need to be good on the return and the defence.”
This marks the third time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with the series tied at 1-1. With Dolgopolov and Gulbis both ranked at No. in the Top 25, this should make for a fun and entertaining contest. It is a shame both will have to meet so early in the tournament, as they both have the talent to make relatively deep runs in the draw. Dolgopolov has more experience this season on clay, which may factor into the contest tomorrow, even though the court climate and conditions are different in Europe than South America. The Ukrainian dominated their last encounter and will likely manage a similar result tomorrow, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see this go three sets.
Prediction: Alexandr Dolgopolov in Three Sets