Friday, December 17, 2010

TTA? Looks Back #16: Ernests Gulbis' maiden crown

The second in my reflections on 2010--Tennis Talk, Anyone?-style!

As I mentioned in my previous post, by the time Indian Wells rolled around a few youngsters had really been making waves on tour in '10. One of them was a guy many thought would've really made them back in '09. Or maybe back in '08?

Ernests Gulbis' start to the year wasn't really anything to write home about until he got to the stop in Memphis. There, he made the semifinals, bouncing two Czechs (how's that for a pun) out of the tournament--super-talents Radek Stepanek and Tomas Berdych--along the way. He lost to Sam Querrey, but so did a lot of players over the year. Time to pack up the bags and head to Delray Beach, Fla., for more tennis.

Now, if you've been following Gulbis over his career so far and saw that he was slated to play a tournament right after making a good run in one, you'd probably think, "He could lose in the first round as well as win the thing." Maintaining form hasn't meant much when it comes to guesstimating the young Latvian's chances on tour.

He didn't lose in the first round, so that was a plus. What he did do, though, was win the first tournament of his career, beating serving machine Ivo Karlovic in the finals in straights. As a matter of fact, he didn't drop a set the whole tournament! Could it be that he was finally ready to make his predicted-by-many move into the top 10?

It didn't happen, as he was slowed by injury. But it was nice to see him start to match some of the hype. And who knows? Maybe 2011 will see more titles come his way--or more first-round losses... you never know!

(Photo: Getty Images)

2 comments: said...

Nice post. It's been nice seeing Gulbis' career finally flourish a little. He certainly has the talent to succeed.

van said...

I wonder if 2011 will really be his year?