Tomas Berdych brought Fernando Verdasco crashing back to earth on Friday, a day after the local player had upset Rafael Nadal at the Madrid Masters.
Sixth seed Berdych, a quiet achiever on the ATP circuit, produced a convincing 6-1, 6-2 quarter-final win over the Madrid-born 15th seed Verdasco.
The Czech will next play Argentine tenth seed Juan Martin del Potro, who put out Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 6-4 in a performance which featured ten aces just a week after winning the title in Estoril.
Berdych will be out for revenge after losing to Del Potro in their last meeting indoors in Rotterdam in February.
"It's the business end of the tournament with two more possible matches to come," said former Wimbledon finalist Berdych. "I know what I have to do against Del Potro.
"He's always tough, he knows how to win grand slams. It would be great to get a win over him after already losing. I'm here to go for the final. It will be a tough match, I'll have to play my game and be aggressive."
Verdasco refused to blame the week's controversial blue claycourt conditions for his sudden loss of form in the debacle against 2010 French Open semi-finalist Berdych.
"I'm not complaining at all about the court. For me it's no problem, it was slippery for everyone," he said.
After losing to Verdasco 24 hours earlier, Nadal lashed out at the admittedly imperfect surface, vowing never to return to Madrid as long as the blue clay remains.