Gulbis through to third round
Written by Jared Grellet Tennis May 12, 2010
Ernests Gulbis' win over Mikhail Youzhny marks the second time in the past month that he's defeated a world top 10 player.
MADRID, Spain — Budding Latvian tennis star Ernests Gulbis has moved past the second round of the Madrid Open, defeating 10th seed Mikhail Youzhny 7-6 (2), 6-4.
Like Gulbis’ first round match up against Spaniard Albert Montañés, his second round battle against Russian Mikhail Youzhny had also been dubbed as the must-watch game of the round. It was intriguing that arguably the three most in-form players on the tour at the moment should all meet so early on at Madrid.
Like Montañés, Youzhny was also coming into the Madrid Open on the back of victory in his previous tournament, having won his first title of the year at the BMW Open in Munich, Germany last week.
Youzhny and Gulbis had only met once before, with Youzhny claiming victory n that occasion in front of a home crowd in Moscow. The fact that both of these players are known for their big hitting also added some extra spice to this match up.
But as much as Gulbis is known for his big hitting, it was his deft touches at the net which were winning plaudits from the crowd today.
In the opening set, both players were showing their strength on serve, with eight games completed before a break point was forthcoming. It was Youzhny who had the opportunity first but “The Gull” remained steadfast, as did Youzhny when the favor was returned on his next service game.
With neither player showing weakness on serve it was fitting that the set be decided in a tie-break. Here Gulbis was able to make a break of his own, dominating the tie break to go one set up.
In the second set it was Youzhny who faltered on service first, being broken by Gulbis on his third service game. Given that the Latvian was already one set up, this would prove to be the crucial point of the match.
On his next trip to the service line Gulbis again had the Russian scrambling, taking advantage at break point three times without being able to finish him off. Regardless, Gulbis was showing advantages of a week of as he made his way round court with ease, whilst Youzhny in comparison was more sluggish in his movements.
Any thoughts Youzhny may have had of breaking back were quickly quashed by Gulbis, serving up two aces in his next service game to move within a game of victory at 5-3.
Gulbis would have to wait at least one more game as Youzhny held serve but Gulbis was not about to have his serve broken today, holding on to take the set 6-4.
In the the third round Gulbis will come up against Feliciano López of Spain. Gulbis has met the world no. 32 on two previous occasions with the honors being shared 1-1.