• Dolgopolov battles Blake, Fish faces Malisse

    8/3/12 6:18 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Dolgopolov battles Blake, Fish faces Malisse Alexandr Dolgpolov is looking for a place in the Washington, D.C. semifinals as he goes up against James Blake on Friday. Mardy Fish and Xavier Malisse are also in action.

    James Blake vs. (2) Alexandr Dolgopolov

    Blake and Dolgopolov will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers during quarterfinal action on Friday at the Citi Open. Their only previous encounter came two years ago on the hard courts of New Haven, where Dolgopolov cruised 6-4, 6-2. The second-seeded Ukrainian, though, is a modest 20-15 for his 2012 campaign. So far this week he has dismissed both Flavio Cipolla and Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo in straight sets.

    As mediocre as Dolgopolov has been, Blake has been far worse this season. The 32-year-old American registers at No. 116 in the world mainly because he had won only a single ATP-level match prior to this event (in Atlanta two weeks ago). Blake may be bouncing back, however, with victories over Pablo Andujar and Marco Chiudinelli. This could go either way since you never know what you are going to get from either man on any given day, but Dolgopolov in three sets is the pick.

    (1) Mardy Fish vs. Xavier Malisse

    Malisse and Fish will be squaring off for the fourth time in their careers and for the first time since 2006 when they battle for a semifinal spot in Washington, D.C. on Friday. Fish leads the head-to-head series 2-1, including 2-0 on hard courts. The top-seeded American has endured an injury-plagued 2012 campaign, but he may be rounding into form following wins this week over Bjorn Phau in three sets and Ricardas Berankis by a 6-3, 6-1 blowout.

    Two years older than Fish at 32, Malisse is still enjoying solid results. The Belgian had hinted at retirement earlier in the summer, but his recent play has apparently convinced him otherwise. Malisse reached the Queen's Club quarterfinals, the 's-Hertogenbosch semis, the fourth round of Wimbledon, and the Los Angeles quarters. He booked his place in this match by dismissing Paul-Henri Mathieu and Jeremy Chardy. Look for Fish to prevail in two entertaining sets.

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