Bernard Tomic and Alexandr Dolgopolov meet for the 10th time on the ATP World Tour when they do battle in the Acapulco semi-finals on Friday.
Watch and bet on Bernard Tomic v Alexandr Dolgopolov Abierto Mexicano Telcel tennis live from Acapulco at 365. Their semi-final encounter starts at 6.00pm local time on Friday (12.00am, GMT Saturday).
It’s pretty incredible that at just 23 years of age Tomic is about to face a rival player for the 10th time, but that’s exactly what will transpire on Friday night in Acapulco, with a spot in the final of the ATP 500 event on the line. The pair first met back in 2010 at the Brisbane International, with Dolgopolov defeating a then 17-year-old Tomic in straight sets. Dolgopolov would continue to be a thorn in Tomic’s side over their next two matches in 2011 at Sydney and Shanghai, finishing strong in a pair of 5-7 6-1 6-0 and 6-7(3) 6-1 6-2 wins. However since Tomic has come into his own on tour, matches between the crafty duo have been a lot more evenly spread in terms of victories at three apiece. Tomic’s three wins have come at the Australian Open, Sydney and in Memphis, while Dolgopolov has prevailed twice in Monte Carlo and once at the Cincinnati Masters last year. The last four matches they’ve contested have been won in straight sets.
One of the more fascinating match-ups on tour, nobody can quite predict what will happen during a Tomic and Dolgopolov match - mostly because even the players themselves don’t know what will occur. Long mixed-pace rallies have become the norm in their matches, with Tomic often attempting to use his magnificent slice backhand to construct the point and move Dolgopolov around, while the Ukrainian tries to gain the initial ascendancy in the rally and generally take more risks with his shotmaking. It’s certainly never a dull affair, and if both can bring their form from throughout the week into this contest, we will be in for another treat.
Alexandr Dolgopolov (Photo by PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
Both players have yet to drop a set on their way to the semi-finals, with fifth-seeded Tomic navigating himself past Rajeev Ram - who beat him in the first round of Delray Beach last week - Adrian Mannarino and Illya Marchenko. The unseeded Dolgopolov has had the more challenging draw but has come through it equally as unscathed, accounting for Steve Johnson, four-time champion David Ferrer and Robin Haase. It’s the third time Dolgopolov has reached the semi-finals in Acapulco (2011 and 2014).
"I think everything suits me here. I’ve played well here on clay courts, I’ve played well here on hard courts and that’s why I’m coming back here and enjoying myself. It’s great to get wins like this," Dolgopolov said.
It’s Dolgopolov’s first semi-final of the season after the 27-year-old was forced to retire in the quarter-finals of the Rio Open last week with a shoulder problem ahead of his match with Rafael Nadal. The mercurial Ukrainian also made the quarter-finals last month at the Apia International in Sydney (lost to Dimitrov). Tomic meanwhile be contesting his second ATP World Tour semi-final of 2016 after he began the year with a final-four appearance in Brisbane (lost to eventual champion Milos Raonic). The 23-year-old also enjoyed a successful Australian Open, pushing Andy Murray to a tiebreak in their fourth round meeting - the closest Tomic has come to taking a set off the current World No. 2. Tomic is set to re-enter the top 20 after this tournament after dropping out briefly following his early exit in Delray Beach last week, and if he can win the event - not unlikely given the remaining contenders - the Australian could even crack the top 15.
Familiar foes with eye-catching game styles, this 11th instalment of Tomic v Dolgopolov should be a cracker. With a spot in an ATP 500 final on the line, expect neither to give an inch. It could easily go three, bucking the trend of their last four matches that have ended in straight sets.