• Dolgopolov, Ferrero set for semifinal showdown

    7/30/11 8:29 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Dolgopolov, Ferrero set for semifinal showdown Alexandr Dolgopolov and Juan Carlos Ferrero will clash on semifinal Saturday in Umag. The winner will go up against either Marin Cilic or Fabio Fognini for the title.

    Alexandr Dolgopolov and Juan Carlos Ferrero will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they do battle in the semifinals of the Studena Croatia Open on Saturday. Ferrero won their only previous encounter at this same event last year, dominating a quarterfinal clash 6-1, 6-2.

    Dolgopolov will likely have another tough time against an opponent who is rounding into form at the end of the summer clay-court swing. Ferrero may have lost in the Hamburg first round last week, but that was in part due to fatigue from having captured the Stuttgart title just days earlier. The 73rd-ranked Spaniard is now a stellar 11-3 for his injury-interrupted campaign following wins in Umag over Maximo Gonzalez, Ivan Ljubicic, and Carlos Berlocq.

    Ferrero is not seeded due to time off and a resulting low ranking, but this is just about an ideal semifinal. Dolgopolov is one of the brightest up-and-comers on tour and he is coming of age in 2011. The 22-year-old Ukrainian owns a 24-18 record this season and registers at No. 26 in the world. So far this week Dolgopolov has dismissed Filippo Volandri and Albert Ramos, both without too much trouble.

    Dolgopolov is the favorite on paper based on seeding and ranking, but Ferrero cannot be discounted. The veteran is the defending champion of this tournament and will be right at home playing Dolgopolov on clay. The No. 2 seed would probably take this one on a different surface, but Ferrero in three sets is the pick.

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