Gulbis Shows Importance of 1st ATP World Tour Title at Delray Beach

Posted on February 28, 2010

Latvian "The Importance of Being" Ernests Gulbis won his first ATP title in his first final on Sunday in Delray Beach, fending off big-serving "Dr." Ivo Karlovic 6-2, 6-3 to capture the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships.

The 21-year-old became the first Latvian to win an ATP World Tour title.

"Everything what I do now is first time for my country," Gulbis said. "Of course it's great. I hope it's positive. I hope much more players will start to practise in Latvia. It's good for tennis in Latvia. They see that a guy from Latvia also can make it and win an ATP World Tour event."

Karlovic had lost serve only once the whole event entering the final, but was broken twice in a row to drop the first set, then was broken twice in the second set.

"I felt comfortable," Gulbis said. "I like being in the final. I felt nobody's giving me pressure. If I'm not putting pressure on myself, then it's fine. I was relaxed. My coach told me before the match, 'Just go on court. Enjoy, it's your first final. You're a young guy. Enjoy it, play good tennis.'"

Karlovic fell to 4-3 in career tour finals, and hasn't won a title since 2008.
"He was playing really good," Karlovic said. "Everything that he hit was in. As good as I was playing yesterday, this is how he was playing today. He was very cool, calm. Nothing could impress him. This year is going to be his breakthrough."

Gulbis is projected to return to the Top 50 rankings.

"I was playing well all week," Karlovic said. "Today it was a little bit worse. This is life. Sometimes you play good, sometimes you play not so good."