ATP Tour

Gulbis upsets ailing Del Potro

2014-02-14 21:00
Ernests Gulbis (Gallo Images)

Rotterdam - Ernests Gulbis has ended Juan Martin del Potro's winning run when he beat the top seed 6-3, 6-4 in a quarter-final upset at the Rotterdam World Tennis on Friday.

Gulbis, the world number 24 from Latvia, will face third seed Tomas Berdych in the semi-finals after the Czech defeated Poland's Jerzy Janowicz 6-7 (9/11), 6-2, 6-4 in a hard-fought victory which took nearly two-and-a-half hours.

In his last five tournaments as the top seed, defending champion Del Potro had won five titles and 23 straight matches.

Wimbledon winner Andy Murray was trying to maintain the honour of seeds as the number two faced former top 10 competitor Marin Cilic of Croatia in the quarter-finals.

German Philipp Kohlschreiber was playing the last surviving Dutchman in Igor Sijsling.

Gulbis, who can be brilliant or less than impressive depending on his mood, preyed upon Del Potro as the Argentine took treatment before the start of the second set on the left wrist which has been posing problems since last month in Australia.

Del Potro came to the match without much ability to hit a penetrating backhand as he plays with medical permission while trying to clear up his wrist problem.

Gulbis will be playing in his first semi-final at the event after advancing in 81 minutes with a dozen aces as he forced Del Potro to save seven of nine break points.

"It was a tough match mentally I had to stay in control," Gulbis said. "I'm really happy to reach the semi-finals. Both Tomas and I will be trying everything in the next round."

Gulbis won his second match out of five against Del Potro, claiming the opening set in 36 minutes with a break in the penultimate game after the Argentine had saved three chances of a break.

- Discomfort -

After Gulbis won it 6-3, Del Potro then had his wrist taped, a sure sign that his discomfort level was rising.

Gulbis took full advantage in the second set with a break for 2-1 from a lob winner.

The Latvian was unable to convert on two match points against the Del Potro serve in the ninth game, with the Argentine saving them both to stay in touch, 4-5.

But Gulbis, who won the last of his four career titles in September at St Petersburg, was not to be denied.

The Baltic challenger stepped up again two games later on his own serve, missing on a third match point but saving a break point with an ace.

He finally secured victory with a volley winner at the fourth attempt.

Berdych said he needed mental strength to get past Poland's big-hitting Janowicz.

"It was a very tough one for me," said the world number seven, playing the event for the eighth time.

"Staying mentally strong was my biggest accomplishment. Winning it - even in three sets - was the most important thing.

"I had to really fight today. it was my mental part that I'm most proud of."

Berdych leads Gulbis 3-2 with their last meeting a win by the Czech in Marseille a year ago.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk


Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.