The blue clay at the 2012 Madrid Open has given some of the world's top tennis players fits, and it's going to help underdog Alexandr Dolgopolov (16) defeat Juan Martin del Potro (10) in the quarterfinals.
Del Potro is having an excellent campaign this year, having only lost six matches while winning 27. He is just coming off a successful title defense of the Estoril Open, where he beat Richard Gasquet, 6-4, 6-2, less than a week ago.
He easily dispatched Marin Cilic in the third round, winning 6-2, 6-4, but del Potro has always found succes against Cilic—only allowing only seven games to him in their five clay-court sets before this match (h/t tennistalk.com).
He relied on his serve to dispatch Cilic, hitting six aces while avoiding a single double-fault.
That being said, he isn't going to get past hard-charging Dolgopolov.
One of the reasons del Potro is going to struggle with Dolgopolov is that his height is actually going to be a disadvantage. Standing at 6'6", del Potro is going to have a tough time maneuvering on the slippery clay against the Ukrainian player.
Dolgopolov has played every match close. He has taken four of his eight sets to tiebreakers, and he is going to continue take the same scrappy approach to the quarterfinals against Del Potro.
His performance against World No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was nothing short of brilliant.
Tsonga had jumped out to an early 4-1 lead in the opening set when Dolgopolov began chipping away at the Frenchman. In the end, he outlasted Tsonga and won, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2).
Who will win?
Dolgopolov is going to take this match against del Potro to three sets. He will wear down the Argentinian to the point of exhaustion, and that's when del Potro's long legs will start to become an issue.
It's going to be a war of attrition, and Dolgopolov has proven he's up to the challenge of winning on the blue clay against better competition than del Potro.
The underdog will prevail.