Gulbis sets up Federer clash
Rome - Latvia's Ernests Gulbis took little more than an hour to dispose of Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 6-2 6-2 at the Rome Masters here Monday to set up a second round clash with world number one Roger Federer.
The Swiss master had a first round bye and the big serving Gulbis took only 69 minutes to reveal to Federer against whom he will begin his campaign.
And the 21-year-old world number 40 is not getting too worked up about his next challenge having taken a set off Federer in Doha earlier this year.
"It's really good that I played him in Doha because the first match against a player like that is the toughest mentally," he said.
"In Doha in the warm-up I was pretty scared but now I know I can play with him, I won a set, it's his first match on clay (this year) so I'm not going to think about it.
"I'll go on court, play my best and whatever happens is ok. If I lose 6-2 6-1 I'll just go on.
"There's no need to think about it, thinking about it won't help you. You have to throw away thoughts about it and you'll be ok."
That sort of attitude is typical of the Latvian who admitted that he is no fan of training and has no intention of forging the type of long and dominant career of his next opponent.
"I don't like practising or spending a lot of hours on court, that's just not me," he added.
"I just want to win a Grand Slam, only one and I'll finish my career."
Reigning champion and world number three Rafael Nadal also found out his second round opponent as German Philipp Kohlschreiber edged Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay in a tight three-setter 6-7 (1/7) 6-1 6-4.
With none of the top stars in action on Monday, the highest profile player to take to the courts early on was former world number one and French Open winner Juan Carlos Ferrero.
But the clay court specialist Spaniard, who dealt Nadal his only ever defeat here two years ago, showed just how far his star has dipped as he was humiliated by Colombian qualifier Santiago Giraldo 6-0 6-3 in under an hour.
Results from Rome Masters first round (x denotes seeding):
Ernests Gulbis (LAT) bt Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) 6-2 6-2
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) bt Pablo Cuevas (URU) 6-7 (1/7) 6-1 6-4
Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) bt Albert Montanes (ESP) 2-6 6-4 6-3
Santiago Giraldo (COL) bt Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP x12) 6-0 6-3
John Isner (USA x14) bt Horacio Zeballos (ARG) 4-6 7-6 (7/5) 7-5