Defending Champion Del Potro, Kvitova Out; Cilic Authors Take Down Of Murray In Rotterdam
by Staff | February 14th, 2014, 7:43 pm

In Rotterdam, 2013 winner and top seed Juan Martin del Potro was surprised by the hot-handed Ernests Gulbis 6-3, 6-4 on Friday in the quarterfinals.

Gulbis, who’s had a history of running either hot or cold, has again caught fire this week after wins over Grigor Dimitrov and now the former US Open champion.

“My ambition this year is to reach the Top 10,” said Gulbis. “It is a big goal. I did well in the 250s, winning two titles, but I need to do better in the Masters 1000s and go deeper in the Grand Slams.”

Del Potro was still nursing an left wrist injured that required treatment during the match.

Gulbis will now battle Tomas Berdych in the semifinals. The Czech went the distance to oust Jerzy Janowicz 6-7, 6-2, 6-4.

“It was a tough match, especially from the beginning when I did not feel comfortable on the court,” said Berdych. “Jerzy plays aggressive and really fast, taking some of the control of the game from me. I didn’t feel that good on the court, but I found my rhythm and hit the ball cleanly after the first set.”

Andy Murray’s wildcard run in Rotterdam also ended. The reigning Wimbledon champion was bounced by Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-4.

“It was the first time I have played three matches in a row since the surgery [in late September],” said Murray. “So that has to be a positive. I didn’t get off to a good start in the first set, but he served extremely well throughout the match. I created a lot of opportunities to break serve, but I could not convert my chances.”

Cilic will take an 8-match win streak into tomorrow’s match against Igor Sijsling who became the first Dutch semifinalist in Rotterdam since Raemon Sluiter in 2003. Sijsling defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 in just 75 minutes.

In Memphis, top seed Kei Nishikori overcame a slow start to turn away Alex Bogomolov 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. “It wasn’t easy today,” Nishikori said. “My tennis level is not quite 100% yet, so I hope I can get better. I have a lot of confidence and my goal is to win the tournament.”

Nishikori now plays Michael Russell in the semifinals. The 35-year-old upset Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 7-6 to advance to just his third career ATP semifinal. Russell has never reached a Tour level final.

In the other semi, Rendy Lu will face the Ivo Karlovic/Jack Sock winner.

On the clay in Buenos Aires, Fabio Fognini faces 2009 tournament champion Tommy Robredo in one semi. The Italian Fognini is now 22-1 on clay since the French Open! In the other top seed David Ferrer will play the winner of the Nicolas Almagro-Jeremy Chardy quarter.

On the women’s tour in Doha, Petra Kvitova’s troubles continued. After a first round loss at the Australian Open, the former Wimbledon champion fell to former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 6-3.

Simona Halep, Agnieszka Radwanska and Angelique Kerber were also winner on a lopsided quarterfinal Friday. Kerber will now play Jankovic in the semis, Radwanska meets Halep.

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Murray Masters Thiem, Faces Cilic Friday In Rotterdam QFs; Del Potro, Berdych Also In Hunt
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Cilic, Thiem Lead Rotterdam Winners Thursday; Dimitrov Now 16-1 On Season
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41 Comments for Defending Champion Del Potro, Kvitova Out; Cilic Authors Take Down Of Murray In Rotterdam

Okiegal Says:

DelPo……be very care what you say about your injury, you might be accused of faking, losing the match and all……just sayin’……but I do hope it gets better.

Perfect fan Says:

I m rly gutted at andy’s n delpo’s ouster….was looking forward to an exciting final, come sunday :((

But also good to see the 2nd tier players like cilic n gulbis making some noise here….good for tennis overall.

Also, I m rly looking forward to a year when at least 2 slams are not pocketed by rafa-novak-andy-roger. Could it be this year???? I think that vl be the dawn of a new era.

Giles Says:

On Monday Delpo will fall to #6 in the rankings.

Hippy Chic Says:

Giles does that mean Andy will rise then?

Giles Says:

Sorry, made a mistake. Delpo will be #5, Ferrer #4 and Andy will remain at #6.

Hippy Chic Says:

Actually Berdych could leapfrog Murray and climb to 6 in the rankings on Monday.

Perfect fan Says:

Chic, in that case the #7 n #8 wud be andy n roger….lol, how many thought of this before the start of the season. I LOVE TENNIS bcoz of this unpredictability :))

Perfect fan Says:

But tell u what….birdy most of the times seems like a mental midget at business end of the tourneys. I won’t be surprised, if he go on to reach the finals n lose tamely thr. Lets c….

Giles Says:

If Berdy wins tomorrow he will indeed leapfrog Andy in the rankings.

Okiegal Says:

I personally don’t think the rankings mean Jack….except for seedings in tournaments. As Perfect Fan stated, tennis is so unpredictable. That’s why we see low ranked players beat higher ranked players from time to time. Tennis is a fickle sport…Yes, that’s why I like it too…….but I guess, however the top 5 or 6 do set themselves apart from the rest because of being consistent most of the time…..but we’ve seen them lose too. That’s the sport, no??

Alexandra Says:

It could be a good opportunity for Thomas. He didn’t win a title last year, so hopefully this year.
Sorry, but I honestly can’t see Gulbis even close to making the Top 10. The magic word is consistency. Not exactly his second nature.

Hippy Chic Says:

Perfect Fan lol it would indeed be strange to see Andy and Roger at 7 and 8 in the rankings,although im with Okiegal in that i dont really care so much anymore about the rankings anymore,its the GS that the players care about more,im sure Wozniaki would swap all those weeks she had at world number 1 for at least 1 GS,i would personally as fans of both players like to see Rafa and Andy be on oposite sides of some draws in GS for a chance of meeting in a final,as we have never had a Rafa/Andy final in a GS as yet.

Okiegal Says:


I would love to see that too….may be in the future
..we can hope! I used to not care for Andy, a few years back. But this guy has grown on me. I think he gives great interviews and is funny. A talented guy. He can pull off some amazing shots. I have always thought Andy his own worst enemy. He used to lose his head, but I think Ivan has helped him with that.
Yes, I would love an Andy/Rafa final in a GS!!

White Out Says:

Gulbis has been looking scary lately. He hits hard.

A Tango Lad Says:

Gulbis is the perfect example of the importance of the mental game in tennis. Anyone who doesn’t subscribe to mental strength being just as important as physical ability need look no further than this man.

He has all the physical talent he needs to be in the top 10 and contend for titles but lacks the required mental stamina and consistency.

Until he changes this (and I hope for his sake he can), he will continue to get a few upsets but only in a spoiler role.


metan Says:

Agree with @ a tango lad. Gulbis is supposed to play free tennis coz he doesn’t have a financial burden in order to win, all he needs is the titles. Who does not know his dad????

rafaeli Says:

It’s funny how some people have stopped caring about the rankings now that Roger and Andy are both heading south. Last year when Rafa came back on tour and dropped to #5 at one point, with Djokovic and Murray at #1 & #2, there were people who believed that Djokovic and Murray were dominating tennis.

I remember some people gleefully pointing that Rafa was no longer part of the Big 4, that it was now the Big 3 – Djokovic, Murray and Federer. Who would have guessed that one year later, Rafa would be #1 and Murray and Federer would be outside the top 5?

Alexandra Says:

I’m pretty sure Andy will be ranked higher again when he can count a whole season. The time after the US Open when he was injured hurts him now rankings wise. It’s a part of the season where he always does well.

Hippy Chic Says:

If people were gleefully writing Rafa off then more fool them,its crazy to write off a great champion like that IMO,he dropped to 5 in the rankings so what?its titles especially GS that players really want,as i said im certain that Wozniaki would trade half of those weeks at world number 1 for at least 1 GS.

rafaeli Says:

If Andy fails to defend Miami and Wimbledon and doesn’t do well in the clay season, he could find himself outside the top 10, having to play the top players sooner than he’s used to.

When Rafa was ranked 5, due to his injury time out, it was people like Djokovic and Federer who bore the brunt of it by losing to him in the Qtrs and SF. But Murray is no Nadal.

Hippy Chic Says:

Dont know where to post this,but just wanted to say congrats to Tomas Berdych on winning the tournament in Rotterdam and the number 6 ranking,even though it is at the expence of my second favorite player Murray,whatever peoples feelings are about Tomas hes had a great week,given the anymosity the guy has to stomach i doubt you will find any of his fans blogging on this forum anytime soon though.

Perfect fan Says:

Many Congrats to Birdy n fans worldwide….I m happy, he proved me wrong n went on to lift the trophy.

the DA Says:

“But Murray is no Nadal” – That’s true, his comeback from injury is proving more difficult than Rafa’s.

However he is Murray, e.g. someone who has winning H2Hs against all but 3 of the top 10. There are several players who will be just as uncomfortable having to play him in QFs. #justsayin

Hippy Chic Says:

The DA its not as if hes losing to nobodies hes still going deep in tournies which is still a positive thing,and the back im happy to say seems alot better now,im positive hes on the right track,hes getting better the more he plays.

the DA Says:

@hippy chic – True. Nadal’s comeback was exceptional. Delpo’s comeback took over half a year. Andy will probably be somewhere in between. He’s certainly progressing more rapidly than Delpo did. The next 3 tournaments will tell us a great deal.

Giles Says:

Delpo is having grave problems with his wrist(s).

Hippy Chic Says:

The DA/Giles i dont really know what to think anymore when it comes to Delpo,too many hot and cold performances,it seems all or nothing,and im not surprised that his wrists get so injured with the way he hits the ball so hard.

Skeezer Says:

@the DA

Recovery from back surgery, even minimalize invasive, can be very tricky. Would hold off expectations of his performance till mid year. Rafa hasn’t had back surgery. Wiith all his serious injuries(apparently) has he ever had surgery to correct any problem? Just askin…

rafaeli Says:

Weren’t we told that Djokovic and Murray had lifted the game to another level in Nadal’s absence?

Murray has to be very careful because more than half of his points are Miami and Wimbledon. If he doesn’t do well in those two and doesn’t pick up many points in the clay season, he could find himself struggling to stay in the top 15.

Hippy Chic Says:

I dont think he has much to defend in the clay season though,he didnt play the FO,so he can only gain there.

Hippy Chic Says:

Nobody saw that Rafa would come back and have a year that he did,many thought he was finished and that Novak and Andy would dominate,there was even talk by the commies and fans on this forum that Novak would surpass Rafa in GS and win RG etc,people are so short sighted sometimes and believe that although domination might be a today thing,it doesnt always follow that it will necasarily be a tomorrow thing,i always think as a fan its best to just enjoy whats going on in the here and the now,and not to take too much for granted,at the start of this year everybody thought Nole was a dead cert for the AO and look what happened there hmmmm,

rafaeli Says:

Hippy Chic, I didn’t say anything about Andy having to defend points on clay, I said ‘if he doesn’t do well on clay’. Defending points is one thing but you still have to win matches even if you have no points to defend. There is no guarantee that you’ll do well just because you have no points to defend.

Hippy Chic Says:

^Yeah fair enough.^

steve-o Says:

They still haven’t touched Federer’s level. Nadal’s 2013 doesn’t match Djokovic’s 2011, which in turn doesn’t match Federer’s 2006.

Nadal at the peak of his powers was straight-setted in the first round of Wimbledon by a journeyman who has lost every tour match since then. Again, never happened to Federer when he was at the top–or Djokovic, for that matter.

Murray will find it difficult to be #1 as he has never shown he can dominate on multiple surfaces for a full season. He’ll have to sweep grass and then win lots of HC tournaments if he wants to take the top spot. I don’t think he has the endurance. Unless Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic simultaneously decline. Which is a lot to ask.

The AO seems to be a bit of a jinx tournament for Murray. It would seem to be perfectly suited for him, but he’s won one set in three finals. He might win it eventually, but it could take a while.

Hippy Chic Says:

Steve O i dont know if that was for me,but to make it clear,i wasnt making a comparison with any other player just merely saying that domination cannot/should not be taken for granted,well IMO anyway for what its worth.

rafaeli Says:

It’s no use comparing Rafa’s 2013 to Novak’s 2011 because Rafa didn’t play a full season in 2013 and still ended the year as #1. He played 3 slams and won 2 of them.

So he went out of Wimbledon in the 1st round to Darcis; but when someone had won everything in sight after taking 7 months off, they could be forgiven for suffering from mental fatigue. After some rest, he did come back and sweep the North American swing in the fall, including the USO.

Hippy Chic Says:

Ive always been a great believer in that all these players are truely amazing and we are lucky to have them all,they all have their own achievements which are unique,i will never put down my favorites rivals to make me feel better about my favorites achievements.

the DA Says:

“Weren’t we told that Djokovic and Murray had lifted the game to another level in Nadal’s absence?”

Who cares about prognostications by tennis pundits? I don’t need them to tell me what the scenario is going to be. They’re so often wrong. Just as they predicted Djokovic/Murray’s dominance Andy developed a back issue and went away for 4 months. They also predicted Federer’s demise and then he won Wimbledon; they predicted Nadal would need months to regain his form after 7 months away; they predicted Rafa’s 14th slam at the AO. The list goes on.

Hippy Chic Says:

The one thing we can all predict is that we can all predict nothing,many have tried and many have failed miserably whether it be Jamie,Truefan whomever,i only find it amusing when they try to pass off their opinions as bona fide facts.

Steve 27 Says:

I hope Andy will be at his peak on Wimbledon to win it again. If he is at 100 % he will defeat easily Djokovic and Federer again. The Swiss is too old and the Serb unless it becomes Boom Boom, has nothing to do with Murray on grass.

Hippy Chic Says:

Rafa lost to Darcis at Wimbledon in the 1st round last year,however be that as it may,nothing can take away the year he had,beating Djokovic,Federer,Ferrer,Berdych,Wawrinka,Isner,Raonic,Almagro all in finals last year,Rafa may have lost to a nobody no disrespect to Darcis,but its not as if he beat a string of nobodies either,so IMO he should at least be given credit for that,even though his year falls short of Novaks 2011 or Rogers 2006,still been the airhead Rafa fanatic silly so called essex girl what the hell would i know anyway?

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