Nadal Takes Wawrinka to the Bakery, Will Gulbis Be Next? Verdasco v. Ferrer Also in Rome SF
by Staff | April 30th, 2010, 11:05 pm
  • 241 Comments

Rafael Nadal closed out a perfect April with another impressive victory on the clay. Today in the Rome Tennis Masters quarterfinals, Nadal improved April streak to 57 straight victories following a 6-4, 6-1 win over Stanislas Wawrinka.

“I think that in the first set today I was in trouble for a long time,” said Nadal. “He was doing his serve much better than I was and I only won one point before 5-4 and for the whole game, my serve was hard. The important thing was that I was very concentrated because he was playing very well and perhaps better than me in the beginning. But from the 5-4, I started to play it well.

“I don’t think I played my best match tonight. I think that the level in Monte-Carlo was unbelievable and the final I played unbelievably and also in the semi-final too. I played well (today) but I was probably playing better in Monte Carlo.”

In the semifinals tomorrow Nadal will meet the surging 21-year-old Ernests Gulbis who thwarted hopes of an all-Spanish semifinal by defeating Feliciano Lopez 7-6, 6-1.

“Nadal – I played him twice before, on grass at Wimbledon and Madrid on fast indoors,” said Gulbis, 0-2 lifetime against Rafa. “I never played him on clay; it’s going to be something special, a new goal for me to have a chance to play against him on clay.”

The unseeded Gulbis will play in his first career ATP Masters semifinal while Nadal is bidding to tie Andre Agassi’s record of 17 career Masters shields this week with his fifth Rome title.

In the earlier semifinal, Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco meets David Ferrer. Verdasco earned a hard-fought struggle over Novak Djokovic 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 in 3-hours, 29-minutes.

“I think if you have to look at something (that made the difference) then it was my mentality,” said Verdasco who has won 12 of his last 13 matches. “How I was taking the match up in the important points like that tie-break in the first set and also how I felt the match in the last game because he didn’t give me an easy time. So, if I need to look at something then, it is the way I controlled the situation.”

The win was Verdasco’s second in the last three weeks over Djokovic, and firmly puts Hot Sauce in the conversation with his fellow Spanish lefty as top contenders for the Pairs title later in four weeks.

“I’m happy with the way I played, so definitely the French Open is the place where I want to get a good result,” said Djokovic a Rome winner in 2008 and finalist last year. “Obviously I’m very disappointed to lose the match. I was very close to victory and I know that this match could have gone either way; only a couple of points decided the winner. But he won because he played well and he deserved to win.”

Ferrer had another easy day at the office taking out Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-1. But tomorrow he’ll face a player in Verdasco who’s beaten him three straight times and six of nine overall.

“He’s a very tough player (Verdasco) and looking at his results this year on clay, he’s one of the best,” said Ferrer. “Every time I play him I know it’s a very tough match and so I hope tomorrow is going to be different. I will need my very best tennis if I want to beat him.”

CENTER COURT start 1:30 pm
[13] D Ferrer (ESP) vs [6] F Verdasco (ESP)

Not Before 4:00 PM
E Gulbis (LAT) vs [3] R Nadal (ESP)
[7] L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) vs [2] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA)

PIETRANGELI start 12:00 noon
P Cuevas (URU) / J Monaco (ARG) vs J Isner (USA) / S Querrey (USA)


Also Check Out:
Soderling Bows Out Ahead of Nadal Rome Challenge; Djokovic, Verdasco Meet Again
Verdasco, Gulbis Showdown Friday in Barcelona
Poll: Who Will Win Rome? Federer, Djokovic Join Nadal In Loaded Field
Nadal Back to Site of Last Claycourt Loss at Rome
Federer Opens Clay Campaign v. Gulbis in Rome; Djokovic, Murray Also in Action

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241 Comments for Nadal Takes Wawrinka to the Bakery, Will Gulbis Be Next? Verdasco v. Ferrer Also in Rome SF

Ben Pronin Says:

I’m guessing (and going with) Verdasco and Nadal. Seem like the safe choices.


Von Says:

Kudos to Gulbis on reaching the SFs!

Verdasco appears to finally realize that a lot of what happens on the court is dependent on his mental stability. However, he’s played a lot of tennis thus far, so I only hope for his sake, he doesn’t run out of steam come the FO, as he’s being touted as one of the players who has a very good chance to win the title.


janadev Says:

I think Hot Sause’s run will end in the hands of Ferrer…not that he can beat Ferrer, he will run out of steam after the gruelling Semis and tiring three weeks of tennis…however, the winner of the tournament is already known to eveyone.. :-))


janadev Says:

sorry for the typos… read it as “not that he cant beat Ferrer” and it’s “gruelling quarters”


ertorque Says:

i am hoping for a Gulbis upset over Nadal lol.
Now what are the odds for that?
Ernis plays very fast and hits the ball very hard I think, so maybe this kind of play could rattle Nadal, no?


Ben Pronin Says:

Rattle Nadal, yes, but I don’t think he’s consistent enough. Maybe he’ll take a set though. I want to see someone take Nadal to 3 sets on clay.


janadev Says:

I like Gulbis go for his shots style, but thats just not enough to take Rafa out on clay…Nadal wont shank that many balls as Federer


Kimmi Says:

More of verdasco quotes:

“Of course I feel tired!” he grinned, exhaustedly. “ I played many matches but I’m also very happy because I am in the semi-finals again tomorrow. I don’t know how I will feel but I hope good. I think if you have to look at something today, then it was my mentality, how I was taking the match up in the important points like that tie-break in the first set and also how I felt the match in the last game because he didn’t give me an easy time and so if I need to look at something then, it is the way I controlled the situation.”

about working with darren cahill

“He’s just been trying to give me advice and tried to make me a better player. I haven’t been with him since Miami. Darren is supporting me and he’s coming to Madrid to teach me and make me a better player but nothing else. Everybody around me is helping in some parts of the game. Of course Darren was helping me in Indian Wells and Miami and also a little bit in Australia and he’s trying to make me a better player tactically and with many specific things.”


Kimmi Says:

more from Djoko..

“I’m very disappointed to lose the match. I was very close to victory and I know that this match could have gone either way – only a couple of points decided the winner. But he won because he played well and he deserved to win. When you play someone like Verdasco or Nadal, these guys get a lot of balls back so you can’t really rely too much on your serve. It is very important on the surface to have a good serve because it makes you feel confident but I think it’s really important to be patient and physically fit because at this level and against these players who are in the top 10 in the world, there’s very little difference between who becomes the winner.”

Despite being world No.2 at the moment, the Serb’s form so far this year has come up slightly short compared with previous seasons, on paper at least. “It depends how you look at it,” said Djokovic. “I didn’t do well in the States where I usually do very well and now I lost the quarterfinals here but these are all very good results so far and it’s just the start of the season. I want to practice, work hard and you can’t have every year the best year in a career – except if you are Nadal or Federer! I’ve had real problems with allergies for the past two months and this has been really troubling but everything else is in order and I’m happy with the way I played, so definitely the French Open is the place where I want to get a good result.”


O-Kerr Says:

Rafa is the bull humanly matadors must fear. He mercilessly runs you down feeds bagels breadsticks and what not.
If everything clicks Gulbis can make a match.
Poor Djokovic he has not beaten any top tenners since for ever not a single time in 2010. Legitimately you will have to back to Basel ’09 if you leave aside ailing Rafa and Davydenko at Barclays. Don’t see recovery any time soon.
I give Dasco edge over Ferrer tomorrow. That means Monte Carlo all over again in Rome Rafa breadsticking Dasco again. Not expecting a great final.


steve Says:

Gulbis has the firepower, but he’s too erratic to beat Nadal. His forehand (and backhand) are incredibly powerful, but he misses a lot. He’d have to play the best tennis of his life.

Then again, the fact that it’s best of three might help him there. Doesn’t have to sustain it for as long.


tennisfansince76 Says:

“Ben Pronin Says:
Rattle Nadal, yes, but I don’t think he’s consistent enough. Maybe he’ll take a set though. I want to see someone take Nadal to 3 sets on clay.”

not happening. the best i see him doing is maybe a tough first set like wawrinka and then he’ll be toast


Kimo Says:

Oh I’m salivating over the idea of a Rafa-Gulbis matchup. Will Gulbis win? Probably not, but it’s sure nice to see us talking again about how Gulbis can cause some damage to Rafa after nearly three years since their match in Wimbledon.

I think Gulbis will take a set. The amount of power that this guy produces is enormous, and remember, this is clay yet he can hit through pretty much anybody. And he, like Soda, is tall and won’t be hurt as much by Rafa’s cross-court forehand. To have any chance against Rafa, you have to have to bear with his forehand. After that, you have to pull him wide to the forehand side. That’s what those who have beaten Rafa have done. Of course, it’s easier said than done, especially on clay coz Rafa has a lot more time to recover, but it worked once, and can work again.

I just hope Gulbis doesn’t get the willies as he did against Roger.


evie Says:

I agree that Gulbis has no chance, but I also agree with Rafa that he was more formidable in Monte Carlo. In the last two matches, he’s looked potentially beatable, despite the final scorelines. I don’t expect him to lose any time soon, but if a great player has a great day in Madrid or RG, you never know…


madmax Says:

Gulbis has no chance. the occasion will be too much for him. rafa will pulverise the guy with his aggressive, tortuous style of play. gulbis has amazing talent but is too erratic, but am sure he will give it his best shot.

He was looking at himself too much yesterday though, and playing a little bit to the crowd, with girlfriend Azarenko in his box, kept looking up at her. You’ll get none of that with rafa.

Just pure focus. Still hope for an entertaining match though.


Xray Says:

Gulbis was focused, he looked up to his coach.


Kimmi Says:

if ferrer continues like this, verdasco might not spend that much time on court….

nando need to concentrate and keep pressing!


Kimo Says:

Nando is just on fire. Love his forehand. I think he would have a lot more success if he plays even closer to the lines, something which he can do but doesn’t.


Kimmi Says:

ferrer is coming back..c’mon nando


Kimo Says:

Like I said, Nando is content with playing safe tennis even though he can be a lot more aggressive. Having said that, Ferrer is playing a little better.


Kimmi Says:

serve it out..here! c’mon


Ezorra Says:

I think Verdsco’s style of play suits grass court better than clay. It is interesting to know how he will perform in Queen and Wimbledon this year. I heard that he considers himself as a non-claycourter but his result on this surface says otherwise. He is definitely the man to watch this season.


Kimmi Says:

aaaarg..bad bad verdasco giving points away..oh dear!


Kimo Says:

Oh no. Please let this not be one of those days where Nando can hit a 2nd serve in!!!


Kimo Says:

I mean’t “can’t hit a 2nd serve in”


Kimo Says:

Set Ferrer!!!


Kimmi Says:

wheels are coming off from nando i am afraid.

thats it for him in this match, no way he can come back..he looks jaded


Ezorra Says:

Kimmi says;

“if ferrer continues like this, verdasco might not spend that much time on court…”

Now it has become the other way around! LOL


Polo Says:

Kimmi was prophetic in that remark. You can take it either way!


rose Says:

Verdasco is in the locker room already..he is done with this match..crazy how quickly this match got away from him..not taking anything away from ferer but just wwoowww..i guess all these matches are finally paying a toll on his body..i hope he comes back recharge to the FO..his game has improved but its not quite there yet…cant wait for nadal/gulbis match ..it has potential to be a good one..


Kimmi Says:

Yap! ezorra, ferrer now running away with it.
the matches were bound to catch up with him sooner or later. and that performance with djoko yesterday finish him off.

needs to go home, relax wait for magrid!


Ezorra Says:

wooot… Verdasco breaks back!


Kimmi Says:

lol he just broke back…


Kimmi Says:

polo, exactly..that statement could have gone either way


Polo Says:

Oh, this is getting too painful to watch! I turned off the TV at 5-1 thinking the set, maybe the match was over. Everybody is probably right that Verdasco must be getting tired from all the matches he has played. He better skip one (or two) tournament before the French or he can just forget about winning that one.


contador Says:

hey Madmax!

nothing wrong with looking at your girlfriend is there?

his GF is azarenko? i’d think a tennis player GF is a good pick. but i’d imagine erno has a slew of girlfriends like safin : ) maybe marat gave him some retrospective advice?

i only saw the highlights and they didn’t show that much detail.
gulbis’ coach is always there and his dad usually there.

all that said, he’ll be lucky to avoid double bagels or at best a breadstick and a bagel. i say he gets 1 or 2 games in the match.

it will be “special” to play rafa on clay, according to gulbis.

Kimmi, i overslept!

hot sauce is not playing like he has been, i see. ferrer wants that final with rafa, poor david. his turn.


Kimo Says:

I think Nando will be fit for Madrid and then the FO after that. Playing for almost three full weeks in a row is too much to ask.


Kimmi Says:

i agree with you polo..i stopped watching too, I am on WTA matches in stuttgart.

first time for him to play so many consecutive matches…I am surprise he gave djoko such a big fight coz his matches has never been easy..lots of three sets in MC and barca and close second sets in rome. skipping madrid will be good but doubt he will do it.

Win or lose here, he has made himself as one to beat in the future..great run!


Kimmi Says:

hi conty, you did not miss much. ferrer started very bad..then nando followed and continued.

waiting for gulbis..what can he do?


Kimo Says:

Nando will not miss Madrid. No way. He’s a Madrid native. It’s his home tournament. No way.

One week will be enough for him to recover.

Congrats David. Give us a good final :)


Kimmi Says:

congrats to ferrer for reaching the final..another spanish final..unreal!


Kimmi Says:

henin in the final in stuttgart..can she win her first title? go henin


contador Says:

i guess i needed the sleep. woke up at 4:30 am to an alarm cos i wanted to get ready for the day, since i’m ‘on call,” then watch as much tennis as possible. but fell back to sleep.

i wouldn’t normally get up at 5 am. that’s what happens if i want to watch matches in europe.

i caught only part of the last set and it was ugly for nando.

so i will miss watching rafa school erno. i have to leave right when their match will start.

all gulbis can do is learn, as Polo says. rafa will basically annihilate him on clay. i think EG would have a better chance on hc outdoors or indoors, and if playing like he has, beat rafa.
he’d even get more points on grass.

but today in rome, on rafa’s turf? not a chance of getting many games, let alone a set. : (


contador Says:

as RF says, erno has one of the fastest 2nd serves in the game. but on clay, it’s not quite as good imo.

ernie will try to play like the occasion would call: nothing to lose.

but he’s an emotional player. i’d be surprised if he had any cool or focus. he’ll have some choice comments for the post match interview, my erno.


madmax Says:

Xray Says:
Gulbis was focused, he looked up to his coach.

May 1st, 2010 at 6:12 am

Perhaps xray,

but camera angle here, showed him looking up at Azarenko.

Perhaps it was a pan, canted or slanted angle where you were, but not here buddy. :)

good luck to all rafa fans and to gulbis fans too. I look forward to a good match.


Ezorra Says:

Thanx madmax :)


Kimmi Says:

madmax – “but camera angle here, showed him looking up at Azarenko.” lol, good one.

I never new Azarenka was gulbis GF. She is cute too.ha!


Sean Randall Says:

No real surprise with Ferrer winning. Verdasco has to run out of gas at some time.

I think Gulbis can play Rafa tough. But mentally the kid still has a long way to go.


Kimmi Says:

new s/b knew..


contador Says:

all the action next week is in munich, serbia and estoril.

feddy better come out to playing with his focus on, Madmax.

fun week of tennis is each of the 250 tournaments next week. though main draw is only out in the serbian open, so far


margot Says:

Hi guys ‘n gals! Don’t think Ernie can win here but nor do I think he’s gonna roll over for Rafa. Let’s hope for a good competitive match.
Just heard Goodall{?} say Andy M played best tennis of his life against Rafa at AO. Am cheered, that’s hardly any time ago, that form can be re-captured.
kimmi: Verdasco just ran out of gas, I guess, but what a tremendous run he’s had! And have been very impressed with Ferrer this week, he’s just like a little Fox-Terrier that endlessly retrieves every ball thrown for him.


Kimmi Says:

hope estoril will make federer match grooved..he needs matches, 4 or 5 matches, big time.

He has 1000 points to defend in madrid. should use estoril as a “build confidence” ground.


Polo Says:

I don’t this Nadal-Gulbis match can be any worse than that other semi-final.


Polo Says:

forgot to type in “think”


Polo Says:

Uh-oh, Gulbis just ignited the flame to Nadal’s oven.


margot Says:

Polo: famous last words? But so often the later matches in tournaments are disappointing.


contador Says:

Ezorra-

nothing to even worry about. even mergo888, the biggest gulbis’ fan on the atp challenge draw who picked ernie to beat federer and get all the way to this semi, wasn’t nuts enough to imagine ernie winning!

i hope sean is right and erno can play tough. mentally and emotionally, hey, even dropping how many kilos? was it 3 or 4?
he still has a way to go.

my favorite, as far as style of tennis and everything else goes is federer. but rafa and roger both obviously have the most mentality for winning and ability to focus in the moment. it’s unbelievable.


Polo Says:

Like tomorrow’s final? I bet you are correct. The only thing that can make it interesting is to watch a bagel or two rise up to the surface.


Sean Randall Says:

Gulbis serves big enough to stay out of the bakery. But yeah, the oven is firing up!

Nervous start for Ernests.


jane Says:

Hi all, not surprised to see Hotsauce out. I see Ernie is already down a break. He was against F-Lo too though, but I suspect that one was easier to come back from.


Kimmi Says:

margot, I will take a semi in rome for verdasco as great accomplishment. Needs to now go home to madrid, relax and wait for the tournament to start.

I was happy to see his array of shots. and that FH is a monster. That is his big money shot and has been working like a charm.

Muzza played very good with rafa in AI, I agree..I think rafa’s game matches up well with murray. especially on faster courts. Hope we see that Murray again soon…fingers crossed.


contador Says:

LOL Polo. i have to go.

will hope to read some of your match comments later. will need some comic relief! thanks.

GO GULBIS! hahahaaa


Polo Says:

Gulbis-Nadal in set one is now at 1-2. Set one goal for Gulbis has been successfully accomplished.


jane Says:

I can’t find a good stream. arrrgh.


rsp Says:

any live streams?


Kimmi Says:

too many errors gulbis, he is beating himself right now..


jane Says:

Ernie has won only 1 of 7 second serves. He clearly needs first serves to have a chance here.


jane Says:

No bagel AND no breadstick in set one; that’s alright.


Kimmi Says:

what a FH from gulbis..does anybody else hit the ball so hard ?


margot Says:

Don’t u just love Ernie? BIG winners, BIG losers, nothing small about him! But at least Rafa hasn’t been to the baker’s in this set at least!


Polo Says:

Gulbis just held for the second time and now has won 2 games to Nadal’s 3. He is trying to overachieve now.


Ezorra Says:

Contador, I’m trying not to be too optimistic considering the fact that Gulbis is at the top of his level and he is so unpredictable as well. Like Nadal, I like to play save :). That said, I think Nadal will win the first set.


rose Says:

gulbis serving big again , that will give him some cheap points but sometimes he goes all crazy..too many unforced errors..nice FH on the point gulbis :) so nadal like


Ezorra Says:

I mean play ‘safe’…


rose Says:

the crowd is rooting for the underdog :)..every time gulbis makes an unforced error ..you can hear the ahhhhhhhhhh !!!!!


Polo Says:

In previous matches, Gulbis would intermittently lose focus then he slows down and looks like he is thinking it through then recovers. He could afford that with lesser players but with Nadal, you have to maintain that focus throughout or he’ll just pounce on you.


Kimmi Says:

gulbis can’t string two points together..


jane Says:

Could Gulbis be this year’s Delpo?Hmmm… We’ll have to see how he manages at slams. He’s been good over 3 sets but what about 5? Conty I think you may be right that he’s not quite as fit as he can be, yet.

1 of 9 second serve points won; Rafa is all over the Gulbis second serve which more players have had trouble with so far and which Fed raved about. Shows why Rafa is one of the top returners in the game.

Is Azarenka really his girlfriend? Wow.


Kimmi Says:

the streaming on tennistv is so bad today..breaking up a lot.

Gulbis hold eventually..yes.


Polo Says:

Azarenka is probably Gulbis’ girlfriend for the Italian Masters.


margot Says:

2 many unforced errors from ernie. You can’t do that against Rafa whose accuracy and movement round court is marvellous to behold.


Ezorra Says:

Great resistance by Gulbis. His serve is good but he has to reduce the number of UEs if he wants to challenge Nadal more. Btw, Gulbis’s hair look more expensive than Federer’s.


jane Says:

I think his hair is just “like that”. Were it not for that first break, this would’ve almost certainly been a tiebreaker.


madmax Says:

just lost the livestream, so am depending on your guys to give me some feedback – pleazeeeeee :)


Ezorra Says:

Gulbis’s drop shots and serves are generally executed pretty well today. I predict a tougher 2nd set for Nadal.

First set goes to Nadal.


Kimmi Says:

gulbis so close there but yet so far..oh well. 6-4 is good in the first set. Lets hope he can start better on the second


NELTA Says:

Gulbis had 2 break points to get even at 5-5, but couldn’t convert. 1st set to Nadal.


margot Says:

He didn’t lie down and die, good kid! I think he’s beginning to get a handle on Rafa’s serve, didn’t get a look in for the first few games.
He cuts out those unforced errors, he gets into top 10, no problem!


NELTA Says:

Almost every 1st serve by Nadal is going to Gulbis’ forehand which is a good strategy. He has an exreme grip and doesn’t hit the forehand well when rushed. 2nd serve is a different story because he has time and can do some damage so Nadal goes to the backhand


Polo Says:

Nadal usually plays even better after winning the first set. Let’s see how Gulbis copes.


Polo Says:

Second set, Gulbis up 1-0. Gulbis goal for the second set and the whole match had been accomplished. Good job! Now enjoy the rest of the match.


Karthick Says:

Can anyone please send the link for live stream of tennis matches? Please post it if its free..


Polo Says:

I don’t mean to be cruel but all Nadal’s opponent’s strategy should be to make Nadal run, run, run then hope his knees start to hurt. That is the only way anybody can beat this guy.


jane Says:

Gulbis has won a set versus Rafa on grass and one on hard, can he get one on clay?


rose Says:

i think gulbis is very capable to take this second set..he is getting to comfortable out there, playing well and the intimidating factor is gone so he is being gutsy now..if he continuous serving well ..he has a chance to spoil nadal’s party


Kimmi Says:

gulbis breeeeeeaaaks..first time this week nadal lost serve.

HOLD GULBIS


NELTA Says:

First time this week Nadal has been broken. Nice to see Gulbis making a match of it.


jane Says:

Gulbis is a treat to watch. Wow, so talented! And he gets a break, the first one of the week versus Rafa. I love watching Rafa on clay but it’s nice to see him challenged as well.


C!P! Says:

Nadal is hitting the ball way too short today ,both on the forehand and the backhand ,and that puts him in seriously bad situations


rose Says:

“Nadal’s opponent’s strategy should be to make Nadal run, run, run then hope his knees start to hurt. That is the only way anybody can beat this guy.”

give the guy some credit he plays hard and who ever that loves this sport should be thankful to watch such a great sport man give his 110% every time he is on court…


margot Says:

Wow, wow, wow! Are we believing what we’re seeing here, folks?


Polo Says:

Win or lose, this kid Gulbis should realize he is good and can really do well in this sport and then have the incentive to work on it diligently and hard.


C!P! Says:

i think Nadal is nervous ,otherwise i couldn’t explain why he hits the ball so slow ,so shaky ,and he can’t find any angles today it seems ,all in all bad day for Rafa at the office


Polo Says:

Rose, I am not discrediting Nadal. In fact, that is high praise for him because I was saying that nobody can beat him (especially on clay). The only thing that can stop him are his knees which alrady happened last year. Wasnt’ that how he lost most of his matches before, because of his bad knees?


jane Says:

C!P! Nadal is not playing badly; he’s serving well. He’s all over Gulbis’ second serves. Perhaps he’s made a few more errors than normal, but some credit for this scoreline has to go to Gulbis no?Gulbis is playing very well.


Kimo Says:

The first set was a perfect case of Gulbis vs. Gulbis. The set was literally on his racket, and if it wasn’t for the break in the very first game of the match the set would have gone to the TB.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: Everybody knows how to beat Rafa, it’s just hard to execute that plan against him. Only a handful of players can do it, even fewer on clay.

Gulbis has the power and the skill to do it, but I don’t think he can beat Rafa just yet. He does have the mentality though. He’s taking it to Rafa. He’s playing Rafa like Soderling did.

However, I’m happy that the kumbaya buzz going among Rafa fans might wind down now knowing that there man is not invincible. He’s still the man to beat on clay, no doubt, but he can be beaten. This is not the Rafa of 2008, and even then Rafa was almost down a set twice to Fed in MOnte-Carlo and in Hamburg (Prior to getting demolished on RG). Rafa’s clay peak was in RG 2008. Didn’t drop a set, and was downright unplayable.


Kimo Says:

This has definitely been a coming out tournament for Gulby. Win or lose, I’m happy that he’s now realized it a shame to put his talent to waste. If he can control his forehand, tame it a little bit, he will definitely have some real success. If he harnesses his talent, I believe he has a grand slam in him.


Kimmi Says:

Gulbis C’MOOOOOOOON don’t give back break here please..lets have the 3rd set (hoping, fingers crossed)


margot Says:

ernie: hold your nerve and don’t relax for A moment…


C!P! Says:

Jane i can agree with you when talking about Gulbis ,yes he is playing well, but just watch Rafa playing the points he controls ,to shaky ,with no idea whatsoever ,that is a sign he is not himslef today!


Polo Says:

Rafa is just experiencing some hiccups right now. If he sees a small window, he’ll break it wide open. I have no doubt about the outcome. Gulbis has been acquitting himself admirably so far.


Kimo Says:

Rafa is playing his game, he’s just being out played. There’s nothing wrong with his serve, there’s nothing wrong with his movement, there’s nothing wrong with his groundies, there’s nothing wrong with his knees. There’s nothing wrong. Period.

The guys hasn’t even lost a set on clay yet yet his fans are already making excuses for dropping a few games too many :D


Kimo Says:

C!P!, Rafa is just a little rattled, to use ertorque’s word. He’s getting a little worried that he Gulbis won’t go to the Bakery.


Ben Pronin Says:

Two years ago I watched Gulbis play at the US Open. He was quite a charming fellow in his post match interview. I thought he would go deep in that tournament and take out Roddick along the way. Since choking that match, he’s gone up and down until this year. Well it’s official, I’m back on the bandwagon. This guy plays a beautiful game.


rose Says:

i wonder if gulbis will have “the yips” when he needs to close this st like he did against federer ..lets wait and see


NELTA Says:

Nadal is working Gulbis’ legs so if this goes to a 3rd set it will be interesting to see what kind of shape he is in.


C!P! Says:

just accepting the obvious, Kimo ,nothing else


Kimo Says:

Safin + good dropshots + powerful forehand = Gulbis. And given that Safin won both hard court slams, that’s saying something.


Ben Pronin Says:

The clay in Rome is more sturdy than in Paris and Monte Carlo. The players don’t slide as much here as they do in the other places. It’s a good court for attacking players. Nadal looks rattled because of the power coming off Gulbis’s shots. It also seems like Nadal is just never happy when he’s not playing his best. I hope this goes to 3 sets but I can’t see Gulbis winning it all. He’s still got Nadal on the other side of the court.


Kimo Says:

Nelta, I doubt even Gulbis has aspirations for winning the match (or is he? ;) ). I think taking a set off of Rafa is what he’s aiming for.


jane Says:

C!P! – sure, it takes two to tango; that’s all I was trying to say. Rafa just hasn’t been tested yet on clay, and there’s no doubt Gulbis is providing it now.Maybe Rafa’s confidence is shaken accordingly; he’s has a tough year or so.

Kimo, Rafa’s fans have been nothing but respectful and nice so far as I have seen. If they’re happy to see their guy back to his clay self and they have a buzz, good for them.


Ben Pronin Says:

Safin had a powerful forehand.


Ezorra Says:

Kimo, if you refer to the previous posts, you will find that there were not Rafa fans that’ve created the ‘kumbaya buzz’ you’re were mentioning so please be fair.

As I said, 2nd set will be tougher set for Rafa in fact he might loss this one. Still I think he will win this match.


Ben Pronin Says:

Maybe Nadal is actually afraid of being pushed, clay or else where. Perhaps that’s why he’s so keen on crushing his opponents as quickly as possible. Even on clay, his confidence isn’t what it used to be. But it’s strange for Nadal to be like this considering he’s the master of grinding out wins. Even if he’s subpar and pushed, he’s come back so many times. And he’s not even losing the match, Gulbis is trying to tie it up.


Kimo Says:

Rafa looks, dare I say it, deflated? Not tired, just deflated.


Ben Pronin Says:

It’s almost amazing to see Gulbis looks fairly calm and relaxed and Nadal is the one who looks like he’s thinking too much and is letting random outside forces affect him. What has tennis come to??


Kimo Says:

Ben, nowhere near as powerful as Gulbis’s. Safin’s strength has always been his backhand.

And you’re right about Rafa afraid of being pushed. Remember his lousy 3 set matches win/loss this year.


Kimmi Says:

SEEEEEEEEEEEEET ! Gulbis..keep it up man!


Ezorra Says:

2nd set for Gulbis. He is getting more confidence right now. Good for him…

Hopefully Nadal is able to counter Gulbis’s giant serves in the third set.


margot Says:

How thrilling is this? A deciding set, whoud’ve thought it?
What a shame conty isn’t watching.


ertorque Says:

i’m jumping the gun a little bit but when was the last time a player beat both Fed and Nadal in the same tournament and goes on to win the tournament?


Kimo Says:

Gulby, please don’t choke. Please, please, pleaaaaaaasssseeeee don’t choke.


Ben Pronin Says:

Safin was inconsistent but the sheer power off his shots isn’t below Gulbis’s. Gulbis, Safin, Berdych, and Del Potro (to name a few) have incredible raw power that shoots the ball of their rackets, in or out. What I see from Gulbis is more topspin on his forehand that carries just as much power but has a bigger margin for error. What sets Gulbis a part from the other power hitters is that amazing drop shot. The power players usually don’t have the greatest touch but Gulbis is an exception. But I love what I’m seeing from Gulbis’s backhand. The way he takes it on the rise is awesome.

Terrible winner-to-error ratio for Nadal. Only 5 winners to 13 errors compared to 18 winners and 14 errors for Gulbis. I hope the third set is close. It’s either that, or Nadal runs away with it.


Kimo Says:

ertorque, Delpo, US Open 2009 :).

It never happened on clay though.


Kimo Says:

oh, sorry ertorque. Davydenko, Doha 2010 :)


Bjorn Borg Says:

Can Gulbis become the first player ever to beat the Swiss and Spaniard in the same clay tournament?
Make it happen, Gulbis. Go !!!


Sean Randall Says:

Geez. If Ernie can stick with the gameplan – big serves, big forehands and keep aggressive – with the way Nadal’s playing it’s right there for him.

Nadal can’t play much worse – I’ve never seen him make so many careless errors. But will Ernie be mentally tough enough to win this?

Nadal has a big edge by serving first. Unless he gets broken right away.


steve Says:

If Gulbis continues playing this well, the outcome is certain. Nadal is being outhit. He can only hope for errors from Gulbis’ racket.


C!P! Says:

in my opinion who gets the first break ,wins the match


jane Says:

etorque, Djoko did it in Montreal in 07; he beat Roddick then Rafa then Fed for the title.


Ben Pronin Says:

I’m just going to say I love Gulbis’s game all around, forehand and backhand. I miss Del Potro a lot but Gulbis is doing a great job of filling the void, even creating his own little spot amongst my favorite players (a spot he once owned, in fact).

Doha, January of this year, Davydenko beat Federer and Nadal in the semis and finals respectively. YEC last year, Davydenko beat Nadal in RR play then Fed in the semis and won the whole thing. Before that, USO, Del Potro, Nadal in the semis, Federer in the finals. Before that, we’d have to go a little further back. 2007, I believe, Nalbandian did it twice in the Madrid and Paris Masters. Djokovic did it in Montreal. I think that’s all of them.


jane Says:

Gulbis is the new Safin.


Bjorn Borg Says:

Man, that forehand would have given Gulbis 2 break point. Feel bad.


Ben Pronin Says:

Biggest. Forehand. Ever.


Kimo Says:

I agree, jane, and he’s even got more weapons in his arsenal.

The zip that this guy gets on his forehand is definitely right up there with Delpo’s.


Kimo Says:

Ben Pronin Says:

Biggest. Forehand. Ever.

Yeah, I saw that one :)


Sean Randall Says:

Massive service game coming up for Gulbis. He just had a break chance, lost it. Now he has to shake that off and hold. This could be the break for Rafa.


jane Says:

When Gulbis, Cilic and Delpo all arrived on the scene in 07-08, my inital fave was Gulbis, though they’re all likable in their own ways, but he just went downhill fast after the 08 USO. In 09 he was practically out of it and Delpo rose. The Cilic broke through a bit as well, especially at the AO this year and USO last year. So Gulbis probably kind of fell off the radar for a lot of us. Now Delpo and Cilic are kind of out of it and Gulbis is shining again. Interesting these upswings and downswings.


Kimo Says:

jane, I hated Gublis’s match last year vs. Murray. He played terrible. All his groudies were wild and all his dropshots were sitting up nicely for Andy. Hated Ernests back then.

But there’s no doubt that among the up and comers, this guy has the biggest raw talent.


Bjorn Borg Says:

It has not happened on CLAY. No player has beaten Federer and Nadal in the same event since they became No. 1 and 2.


funches Says:

Yep, Bjorn, people don’t take the time to carefully read posts here before trying to drop their knowledge on you.

The word clay was in your initial post, which makes sense sense this tournament is on clay and all of Rafa’s streaks involve clay, but we got treated to the irrelevant history on hard courts.


C!P! Says:

lol Bjorn Borg just came by to jinx Rafa ,his clay-court records smasher


C!P! Says:

just kidding:)


Lion Says:

Gulbis – another reason nadal is going to finish his career without a USopen.

Unless you are a rafatard, you got to love the big game that gulbis brings. I still think nadal will wwin rome, but there are good chances this year will be like last year for him. Rome might be his last tournament this year.

Jane – Yes! rafatards have been saints. thanks. Do you read posts on tennis-x? even on this blog, there are guys discrediting the superb game gulbis is bringing on. I am sure not all people are selectively blind to the stupidity that rafatards bring to tennis.


Kimo Says:

Whatever happens this match, Rafa is still the FO favorite. Taking three sets off of Rafa in one match is a monumental task.

But Gulbis has shown us Rafa’s vulnerabilities today.


jane Says:

Gulbis has won only 5 of 18 second serve points! And he has a great second serve. So Rafa is trying to take advantage when he can, but Gulbis’ first serve has been killer. 13 aces; 80% first serves in for the match thus far.

Never saw the DJ box cause a stop in play. LOL.


C!P! Says:

what was that noise?


Sean Randall Says:

Let’s not anoint Gulbis the next Big Thing just yet. Outside of a Federer win, the kid has not been a big match player. He has a chance to prove me wrong this weekend.


Lion Says:

” Yep, Bjorn, people don’t take the time to carefully read posts here before trying to drop their knowledge on you. ”

Yes funches, not everyone is schooled like you by CCM and consafos on the xboard to stay in line.

no offense, just how i see the dynamics on xboard.


margot Says:

jane: I’ve same experience as you re Ernie, noticed him, thought WOW, then so inconsistent I got fed up at waste of talent but now WOW and WOW again!
Looks to me now though, as if Rafa is regrouping.


Bjorn Borg Says:

If Gulbis can keep getting 80% first in, he has a shot. If it goes down . . . .


jane Says:

funches, look at etorque’s 12:03 post. You’ll see s/he asked if any player had ever beat both Fed and Rafa and gone on to win an event. Besides which, because of the rarity of players taking out both Rafa and Fed and going on to win the event, it’s not entirely irrelevant. I did in fact notice that BB mentioned clay.


Kimo Says:

Big serving from Gulby to save three BPs.

I believe Gulby. I believe!!!!


Kimo Says:

That was a huge hold for Gulby.

Sean, if that game doesn’t make you believe in Gulbis’s big match rep, I don’t know what will.


Kimmi Says:

what a game to get out of that hole! unbelivable!


Bjorn Borg Says:

Good save from triple break points down.


steve Says:

That was a ballsy point from Gulbis. Awful drop shot and he still won it!


C!P! Says:

wouldn’t it be nice to see a tie-break in this one? i wonder if Rafa can hold his serve till then!


Ben Pronin Says:

I think what I like most is that Gulbis is actually playing well in this match. Against Federer, they were both hitting a lot of errors. Here, Gulbis is hitting more winners than errors.

The commentators said 5 players have beaten Nadal and Federer in the same event. Who’s the 5th?


Bjorn Borg Says:

Gulbis gave Rafa 2 free points with those UEs.


Lion Says:

Kimo,

we all know gulbis had it. to be realistic, this is his biggest tournament to date.

the key, as with all youngsters who are talented is, how long can he keep it? can he do a delpotro or a djokovic?

he is still way below that league of converting talent to result.


jane Says:

Nalby, Djoko, Davydenko, Delpo that’s the only 3 I can think of Ben. Ben I’ve watched Gulbis all week and he’s just gotten better and better each round.

margot I think you’re right; Gulbis’ serve is dropping a little and his UEs are creeping up. Whereas Rafa seems to be uber-focused right now. We’ll see. Either way, Gulbis has steered WELL CLEAR of any bakery and has given us the match of the clay season.


C!P! Says:

i wonder how are Ernest’ pants holding right now ! lol good thing he has a reliable sponsor there


jane Says:

oops I mean 4. I can’t think of the 5th either.


Kimo Says:

Best three set match I’ve seen this year. Hand down!!!

This one is as good as Djoko vs. Rafa last year. I’d say it’s even better coz Gulbis is winning ridiculous points.


Kimo Says:

Did you see that terrible dropshot Rafa tried? That’s a brain cramp if there ever was one.


Bjorn Borg Says:

Once again Gulbis showed he’s the game. Hopefully he can keep playing like this a couple of more games.


Bjorn Borg Says:

Winners count 50-17 in Gulbis’ favor.


jane Says:

50 winners and he’s still not won it yet – incredible!!!


Kimmi Says:

RAFA wanted that game..aaahhhh GO GULBIS!


C!P! Says:

now it’s a good time for a break Rafa ,go for it!


margot Says:

The best match since I don’t know when, my palms are sweating…


jane Says:

Great match – it’s looking like the end of the line for Ernie.


Bjorn Borg Says:

Why is Gulbis playing those weak drop shots? Facing triple match points. That’s gonna cost him the match.


Ezorra Says:

VAMOSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!


Ben Pronin Says:

Hopefully Voicemale is watching this. He was worried about Nadal’s stability in tight matches that went deep.

Nadal is ecstatic to get through a tight one. It’s been a while.


Ben Pronin Says:

Gulbis needs to stop that little hop he does when he hits a drop shot. Talk about a poor disguise.


Kimmi Says:

GULBIS, great game my friend. No, one took rafa to a decider and gave him the run for his money on clay this year.

Congrats rafa…Congrats gulbis for a great run!


jane Says:

Well congrats to Rafa for staving off an INFERNO of winners from Gulbis (with his now-packed-bus of fans)!!! GREAT FUN!


Kimo Says:

Well done, Gulby. You did good, kid.

Contador said:

“all that said, he’ll be lucky to avoid double bagels or at best a breadstick and a bagel. i say he gets 1 or 2 games in the match.”

buddy, that prediction was wayyyyyyy off.


C!P! Says:

pfiuuuu ,that was a close one ,congrats Rafa ,congrats Ernest ,good match overall .


Bjorn Borg Says:

Gulbis was close but came just a little short at the end. Very high quality and one of the most entertaining matches in recent times. Kudos to both.


Lion Says:

murray beat nadal and federer in 2009 abu-dhabi, but that was an exho….


skeezerweezer Says:

GUBIS<<<<<<<…..not Rafa, is the story here. Amazing kid at 21. too many UE’s was the only difference over all, But then Gulbis had a high number of UE’s the whole tourney and still got this far. A little more maturity….look out!


margot Says:

Ernie: sort out that second serve, sort out that wayard forehand and you are a grand slam winner without doubt.
It’s been a pleasure talking to you all, are we bothering to watch tomorrow after this thriller?


jane Says:

Congrats to Rafa’s fans; enjoy the victory.

margot, not sure if I’ll watch the final. Might be fun to end on that note. I don’t think Ferrer can test Rafa or take him to 3 sets.


Rsutherland Says:

Wake up call to many:
Bagel/Breadstick prognosticators, scorners of those who ragged too hard on Federer for losing to the kid and of course to Nadal.
There could actually be a new kid on the block…if (when) the ratio of brilliance to heinous tilts even further to the positive – Watch Out!
So when does he get one of those silly ‘Soda-Pop’, ‘Muzza”-type nicknames? I think he has earned one.


C!P! Says:

Nadal will play tomorrow his 50th career final ,wow


Von Says:

Whappa!! Rafa did it!! Congrats to his fans!!

Great match by Gulbis; his fans should be proud of him. I think those three drop shots, were his downfall.
__________________
Rsutherland: “So when does he get one of those silly ‘Soda-Pop’, ‘Muzza”-type nicknames? I think he has earned one.”

LOL, I think I need a new dictionary to understand the new monikers — too many to learn, and enough already. I sometimes wonder if Im reading about tennis, or a comedy act.


Lion Says:

Gulbis da man! great to see him show us that tennis on clay can be fun and not the boring variety these spaniards have been showcasing since the days of bruguera.

Am done with this bore-fest of fetching that rafa and ferrer will do tomorrow!

Looking forward to madrid, where we will hopefully see some exciting tennis from the likes of Federer, djokovic, soderling, gulbis, berdych, cilic, nalbandian.

when are davydenko and delpotro back?


Kimo Says:

And Rafa will tomorrow tie Andre Agassi’s record of 17 masters series shields. WOW.


Lion Says:

for a moniker, i will throw bulbis out there, as in he plays lights-out tennis, when his bulb is glowing! ( get your heads out of the gutters, you pervs, i am talking about his brain. LOL


Von Says:

Lion:

“Looking forward to madrid, where we will hopefully see some exciting tennis from the likes of Federer, djokovic, soderling, gulbis, berdych, cilic, nalbandian.”

And, Roddick also. He can play on clay you know. It’s just that he has two left feet. LOOL


Rsutherland Says:

Von: At first, I thought the whole idea of a nickname for a person one does not know personally was a bit too cliche but I have given in to the fun of it. (although to me Soda-Pop connotes an image a bit too cheery for such an austere character).
At any rate, perhaps a competition is in order. So far we have Bulbis…


Lion Says:

LOL Von. That is hilarious….. 2 left feet indeed. you can never fault him for not trying, though. he has a heart bigger than USA.

I think Roddick might have a great clay year this time. He is playing very defensive tennis (brilliantly, i must say) which gives good results on clay, but i just hope he does not tire himself out on clay and compromise Wimbledon. With the way, federer is playing, he has a great chance of doing at wimbledon, what Federer did at 2009 french.

fingers crossed for andy boy.


Von Says:

margot: “It’s been a pleasure talking to you all, are we bothering to watch tomorrow after this thriller?”

Well, the final is very important to the faithful tennis clan, but that depends on whether one is a Nadal/ Ferrer and/or tennis fan.


janadev Says:

I think skipping Barcelona definitely helped Rafa here…otherwise it would have been like the first semifinal of the day…


zinaldo Says:

Nadal yet again lucky is opponent went away or didn’t use their head the crucial moments but gulbis really showed why i think rafa is very beatable on clay and if it wasn’t for him being left handed he would have lost a lot more matches.

What a boring player to watch yes he is quick and has that never say die attitude but his sole tactic is hit to the backhand and hope for a mistake but like against soderling if his opponents are not making stupid and simple mistakes he is likely to lose or to be in for a tough ride most times.

I have never seen a defensive player,he pretty much never attacks but just hits shots to make sure

you can’t play your game,all he does is hit them loopy forehands and nothing else.

I hope he gets djokovic,del potro,gulbis,davydenko,cilic on clay at the french so they can really push and who knows beat him,i at least expect an in form del potro to take a set or 2 from him.

That a champion comes on the court hoping that his opponents are going to miss shots is truly shamefu l because he doesn’t do anything else but wait for errors.


janadev Says:

Zinaldo just woke up from his sleep after 5 years…


Von Says:

Rsutherland: Thankfully, it’s Bulbis, and not Bulbous, as in a bulbous nose. Karl Malden comes to mind. LOL.
_________________
Lion: Thanks for the kind words re my guy, you know the one “on clay with the two left feet”. I doubt he’d be too tired for Wimby, as he’ll only be playing Madrid, the FO, Queens and Wimby, with a week off between Madrid and the FO, and another between Queens and Wimby.

I’m hoping for good things from Andy at those tournaments considering how much play time he’s had recently.


montecarlo Says:

Everyone is running on Gulbis bandwagon but IMHO until he improves his second serve he is really going to struggle against the top guns. You can’t expect to hit 80% first serves in every match. It happens one in every 10 matches or so. And if you are winning only about 20-25% points on second serves something is really wrong with that second serve.

That said Gulbis’s level was insanely high today, Rafa was pretty bad and Gulbis deserved to win this match the way he played.


Von Says:

It’s not that Nadal doesn’t get the top ten players in his draw, but they are never around to do the unthinkable, and that is, to pull off the upset. That said, what’s he supposed to do, ask their opponents to not beat them and give them a free pass to meet him in the QFs, SFs and final?


Ben Pronin Says:

janadev Says:
Zinaldo just woke up from his sleep after 5 years…

Hahahaha, so true.

Von, Roddick’s going to do just fine on clay this year, but he’s obviously not going to go all out to cement his status as a clay courter. It’s all about Wimbledon.


Von Says:

montecarlo: “Everyone is running on Gulbis bandwagon but IMHO until he improves his second serve he is really going to struggle against the top guns.”

that’s the usual Mo in sports. New kid on the block and everyone jumps on the bus.

“That said Gulbis’s level was insanely high today, Rafa was pretty bad and Gulbis deserved to win this match the way he played.”

It’s executing at the right times. Those three drop shots consecutively, is what caused him to deflate. It was a case of experience winneth over.


Lion Says:

Von – You are welcome.

Zinaldo : oops! the rafatards will come out – butt-picking and all!

This is going to be fun. stick around buddy.


Von Says:

Ben: I agree with you on Roddick. IMO, Roddick can play on clay. He’s won several Davis Cup matches on clay, but he’s not a good mover and/or slider, which is why he gets injured.

I’d like to see him defend his QFs points in Madrid and his R16 points at the FO, maybe even getting to the QFs, and to remain healthy for Wimby, winning the title this year. I’m positive he can do that.


Von Says:

funches @ 12:23 pm. So very true. LOLZ.


Ezorra Says:

Lion, I hope you stay. Everytime you’re here, Nadal win. I feel blessed!


Von Says:

Ezorra, you’re funny. LOL.

Lion come back tomorrow.


skeezerweezer Says:

“montecarlo Says:

Everyone is running on Gulbis bandwagon but IMHO until he improves his second serve he is really going to struggle against the top guns”

Sure I am on his bandwagon, he’s only 21, give him a break. Everyone knows he has to improve things. But at 21 he knocks out Fed and gives Rafa the best match since he returned to clay…….it’s his second serve and other things. Look at his stats…really high on the UE’s. Cut those down a little and he would be in the finals….


Von Says:

SkeezerI Gulbis’s problem has always been his high UE count, but with time, he’ll learn to clean up those. and when he does, he’ll be a good top 10 player.


Karthick Says:

Polo, thanks for the link…It worked and saw the whole match.. It was a good treat after a long time… Vamos!!!!


Von Says:

Karthick: You can also watch live streaming on http://www.fromsport.com.


Kimmi Says:

Gulbis played exatly how soderling played rafa last year. Big serve, flat shots on both wings. Too bad Soderling is not playing well this year because at RG 09 he never miss. He was hitting deep and hard. Those kind of game will always trouble rafa on this fast clay imo.


Voicemale1 Says:

Ben:

Did not watch the match. Given what everyone’s written here it’s seems like exactly the kind of match Nadal needs to boost his confidence again. And even more so if he lifts the trophy again tomorrow.

It’s stunning to think Gulbis can smack 50 Winners in a match and lose. All credit to him though. He takes out Federer and rides that all the way to the Semis where he pushes the defending champ to the brink. The question is will he be able to put up performances like that consistently. He does have a tendency to short circuit mentally at times. He used to have a very “wristy” forehand, the kind that can head south in a hurry. Maybe Gumy has him hitting it with a steadier wrist these days.


jane Says:

Kimmi, I think Gulbis has more variety in his arsenal than Soderling. Gulbis has a drop shot (which, yes, he overused at the end of the match today, but it worked effectively at other times throughout this tournament), he has a great lob, he can volley well, he returns pretty well; in other words, he doesn’t only have to take it to his opponent from the back of the court. He served great second serves versus Fed, but today they weren’t effective. This might be down more to Rafa’s returning prowess than any kind of lack in the second serve. But it’s the errors which he could cut back on. Sometimes he was way off on smashes, and his inside-out forehand can go “off” too.


contador Says:

I am stunned. and sick, just sick- over not missing the match.

read through everyone’s comments- wow, that 2nd set could have resulted in a win for erno….but sounds like too many UE’s plus he might have gotten carried away with the drop shot. it’s always been in his weaponry and he knows just how and when to use it, under more normal circumstances.

considering who what he has been up against in his draw. let’s hear some applause!

as i said earlier up the thread, federer is the one who says gulbis second serve is one of the fastest on tour. federer is an admitted gulbis’ watcher. : )

from watching most of the other gulbis matches on clay and comparing his second serve to hc, it’s not the weapon on clay that it is on hc.

and people, gulbis is not the gulbis of last summer. when he stepped out to play muzza at wimbles i felt sorry for ernie. he looked fat, out of shape, clueless, lost- but his weaponry was still there. he had no fitness, no coach, no strategy other than ‘hit the ball hard.’ he was in the same bad shape at the US Open.

then, something must have clicked in his brain. as ernests says, “tennis was a hobby, now it is a job.” but he also said in, i think it was one of his post federer win interviews, “i am not a tennis freak.”

lolzzz, ernie, you are a classic.

i think gulbis tells it like it is and i have been listening to him, not an easy thing to do. sometimes it’s days before i can even find an interview transcript and harldly ever, until now, an interview video.

his goal? he said it last week: he wants to get seeded for the big tourney’s, maybe win one slam and then he’ll be satisfied.

i hope he can make his goals happen, it’s my wish for such a gifted, exciting tennis talent. what i wish, is that he becomes a “tennis freak.” if i could only tranfuse my love of tennis now passion for watching tennis to him!!

Congratulations Ernests Gulbis! i’m still on your rollercoaster, man. you are so much fun at the moment, i brace myself and hope you are still going up before i lose my cookies going down again!

and cheers to the rafa fans. i’m lousy at predicting, obviously. but i still like to try. in rafa’s case on clay, ferrer won’t do as as well as erno did, simply too much respect for nadal from his compatriots and they know how each other plays so well.

rafa is an amazing champion. you can count on him

( federer is too ) federer will always be the top favorite tennis player for me.


contador Says:

shoot! i always get my sentences screwed up when excited and super happy

s/b “sick over not seeing and missing the match.”


jane Says:

It was very good conty – too bad you were not able to see it. Gulbis was a valiant fighter. Perhaps he was running out of steam a bit at the end, hence the 2 or 3 droppers in a row. But he was hitting that ball well today and so focused. Not the least frazzled or intimidated by the situation, though he does seem to get mad and talk to himself when he makes errors, so he shows some serious desire. I think he likes the big matches.

Now he’s beaten Fed and he’s taken a set from Rafa on every surface. Hope he can continue in this way.


Skorocel Says:

Lion: “Gulbis – another reason nadal is going to finish his career without a USopen.”

I’d say it’s a safe bet that, if there will ever be an USO winner out of these two, it’ll be Nadal.


contador Says:

me too, jane. me too.

okay i am really bad at forecasting tennis match outcomes and who knows what someone like erno will really do but here goes:

i believe him. he’ll work hard to get himself seeded and win something big, as he said, a slam. maybe this year, maybe later.

after he accomplishes his goals? he’s a safin, through and through. someone to admire for their talent and charisma but not one to count on to stay at the top. it’s up and down. i don’t know if his win in a 250 atp event on hc, and his knock out performance on clay herald his arrival. it’s a great sign and makes me happy.

but he is gulbis, jane. remember, watch the expectations : )
your advice to me. i take you seriously too.


Kimmi Says:

Jane, I understand Gulbis has variety but soderling game of hitting hard to nadal FH and get a shot reply works very well. he can volley a little you know, though awkward but works for him.

Anyways, I really miss delpo..it looks like we wont see his monster tennis at RG. very very sad. even if he comes back for madrid, will be too rusty imo…it is best for him not to come back too early, needs to recover fully.


contador Says:

Kimmi-

i miss delPo too. gutsy gulbis is a great stand-in though. don’t you agree?


jane Says:

Touche conty. : )

Kimmi, you’re right Soda is not bad at net, it just doesn’t seem to come as naturally to him as to Gulbis. And shame about Delpo indeed; did you read somewhere he won’t be back for the FO? Too bad.


Ben Pronin Says:

Skorocel Says:
Lion: “Gulbis – another reason nadal is going to finish his career without a USopen.”

I’d say it’s a safe bet that, if there will ever be an USO winner out of these two, it’ll be Nadal.

Ditto Skorocel.


contador Says:

dare i say, gulbis has more speed and better movement than soda.

gulbis doesn’t have the fitness of verdasco or rafa but he held his own against f-lo and then some.

soda pops and fizzles too, like erno, one never really can tell.

exciting to have them in a draw…..where are they next?

must check if the draws are done for munich and serbian open and estoril. serbian open draw is posted.


Kimmi Says:

conty, during the match I was cheering for gulbis not to be bagelled or breadstick..suddenly he is broken rafa…hang on a minute, I said to myself, this is getting very good, he can get a set here hahaha he did. He served very well on big points, he really rattled rafa. you could see how rafa celebrate when he won.

Hope gulbis can continue his recently success..he needs another big run in Madrid.

Jane: No I did not read anywhere about Delpo not coming to RG..just guessing. Even if he comes back, it will take him sometime to be at the top again. so regardless, i don’t think we will see him monster tennis at RG


contador Says:

Kimmi, i went to far cheering for ernie to win a set when he was playing federer ( don’t worry , i might scream at the livestream or TV but i don’t actually think he hears me, lol )

i cheered for delPo to take a set at the US Open.

*sigh* ernie couldn’t hear me today in that last set. my super powers don’t work unless i am actually watching.

if i did have super powers, federer would have won in both cases, even though delPo and ernie are right up there with my top faves, which is a growing list. and i have accepted the apparent changes in federer. not saying he’s over, just different at 28 than at 23, 24….

******************
i am getting worried about dePo’s wrist. we really need him. any word on when he will return?


skeezerweezer Says:

“Ben Pronin Says:

Skorocel Says:
Lion: “Gulbis – another reason nadal is going to finish his career without a USopen.”

I’d say it’s a safe bet that, if there will ever be an USO winner out of these two, it’ll be Nadal.

Ditto Skorocel.”

Don’t agree. Nadal has yet to prove after his injury he can withstand the HC season with his knees, the hardest surface on your knees. I would not consider Nadal a contender on the HC surface…I’m waiting till the middle of summer to make that call… A LOT of tennis yet to be played…

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