Gulbis Looks at Spoiler Role Again at ATP Auckland

Posted on January 11, 2009

Ernests Gulbis had Andy Roddick on the ropes before letting him off at last year's US Open, and last week at Brisbane bounced top-seeded Novak Djokovic in the first round.

This week at Auckland the unseeded giant-killing Latvian will again look to play the spoiler in a potential second-round meeting with top seed Juan Martin del Potro.

Gulbis first meets Spaniard Marcel Granollers, with Del Potro receiving an opening-round bye.

Also seeded are David Ferrer, Robin Soderling, Nicolas Almagro, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Sam Querrey, Al Montanes and Juan Monaco.

The American Querrey received a New Year's gift, drawing New Zealand wildcard Daniel King-Turner, who played his first pro event in 2003 but still has a mostly blank bio with the ATP (P.S. -- King-Turner, the ATP needs your resident address update). Querrey's unseeded countryman Robby Ginepri was likewise gifted, drawing NZ wildcard Jose Rubin Statham.

The fifth-seeded Kohlschreiber faces a different kind of wildcard opponent in Dominik Hrbaty, who last week led the Slovak Republic to the Hopman Cup title. The winner of that encounter faces the victor of the interesting all-unseeded encounter between former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero and 2008 ITC Delray Beach winner Kei Nishikori.

Kohlschreiber is the defending champ, with the German topping Ferrero in the 2008 final.