If you thought Ernests Gulbis had dropped off the face of the earth, you’re not alone. The good news is everybody’s favorite fun-loving Latvian returns to the semi-big stage tonight in Memphis where Gulbis will have the unenviable task of facing Milos Raonic in a first rounder.
As I said, we’ve hardly heard a peep from Explosive Ernie. Things did look promising for Ernie late summer after he won his maiden ATP title back in Los Angeles. But I guess that was a fluke. Since then Gulbis has been all but on a back of a milk carton – MIA.
Gulbis has a total of six tournament wins post-LA, and he hasn’t won a tournament match since early October losing six straight on the ATP (two of 15 sets) entering the showdown with the Canadian. His ranking has also tumbled off a career-high No. 21 a year ago to No. 70 this week.
That said, Gulbis is still only 23 so the son of a billionaire still has plenty of tennis life in him. It’s just unclear whether he’ll ever fulfill the talent he has, but at least it’s good to see his name still in draws. Though against Raonic, he’ll face someone who can match his power and off the serve, exceed it. Milos is fast becoming one of the best servers in sport, and soon I think he’ll be the best.
Also tonight, Andy Roddick begins his Memphis title defense against fellow vet Xavier Malisse. Roddick’s won all nine previous meets with X-Man, however given Roddick’s poor play and health issues, it’s a toss-up type of match but one that Andy, who’s seen his ranking slide to No. 27 this week, desperately needs.
WEDNESDAY MEMPHIS SCHEDULE
STADIUM start 10:00 am
 P Parmentier (FRA) vs S Arvidsson (SWE) – WTA
J Melzer (AUT) vs D Istomin (UZB) – ATP
[Q] R Ginepri (USA) vs  K Anderson (RSA) – ATP
 R Stepanek (CZE) vs [Q] B Reynolds (USA) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
X Malisse (BEL) vs  A Roddick (USA) – ATP
E Gulbis (LAT) vs  M Raonic (CAN) – ATP
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