01 Mar Gulbis INTO THE QUARTERFINALS
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[column size=”00-1″ last=”1″ style=”1″]INTO THE QUARTERFINALS GULBIS STUNS QUERREY, HAAS IS IN
By Steve Dorsey
The biggest upset was registered by Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis, the No. 109-ranked player in the world who sent No. 23-ranked Sam Querrey, the No. 3 seed here, to an early exit with a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(4) win. Earlier in the day, No. 8 seed Xavier Malisse lost to qualifier Daniel Munoz-De La Nava.
Tommy Haas, the No. 2 seed, breezed into the quarterfinals, but four of the eight seeds here have been ousted in the first two rounds.
Querrey appeared to be on his way to the quarterfinals when he broke serve twice and led 4-0 in the third set, but Gulbis didn’t quit and pulled off the comeback upset when Querrey double-faulted on match point for the eighth time in the match.
Gulbis displayed his emotions when he slammed and broke his racket in the second set and was docked a point for cursing in the third set. Gulbis made no apologies for letting his emotions show.
“I didn’t sleep for basically three days before coming here, and fighting through qualies . . . it is how it is,” said Gulbis, who captured his first ATP World Tour singles title here in 2010. “Physically, I feel really good with my game. Every point I get now is big for me. I just have to play better to get into the main draw.”
Querrey was frustrated with his play, particularly in the third set, but faced the music at the post-match interview with reporters.
“I’m pretty bummed,” Querrey said. “I thought I had him on the ropes (at 4-0 in third set). I thought (Gulbis) did a good job of returning today. The double faults killed me. I usually don’t do that. It’s just one of those days, one of those matches. I was hoping to have a good week. The good thing is I have 10 days before I play at Indian Wells. Hopefully, I’ll have it out of my head by then.”
Haas, 34, who has overcome a succession of injuries during his career, including hip surgery two years ago, was the ATP Comeback Player of the Year in 2012. He has vaulted to No. 19 entering the week here where he won the title in 2006.
“I still feel like I can do some good things on the court,” Haas said after his 6-4, 6-1 win against Denis Istomin. “It was different from two days ago with the cool weather (Thursday).”
Malisse has more match wins (26) at the Delray Beach ITC than any other player in the field here this week, but he failed to add to that total Thursday when Munoz-De La Nava ousted the No. 50-ranked Malisse 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3 in the continuation of their second-round match that was suspended Wednesday because of rain.
Munoz-De La Nava, making his debut in Delray Beach, advances to the quarterfinals for the second time in his ATP World Tour career and the Spaniard next faces Gulbis in an all-qualifiers match on Friday.
Ricardas Berankis is making the most of his lucky loser entry into the main draw. The Lithuanian and Bradenton, Fla., resident moved into the quarterfinals with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win against American wild card Jack Sock.
Berankis, who is ranked No. 87 in the world, will face Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin on Friday. Roger-Vasselin, who is ranked No. 105, defeated Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 7-5.
Croatian Ivan Dodig also moved into the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 7-5 win against Evgeny Donskoy, setting up a match Friday against Haas.
The other afternoon result was in doubles where Johan Brunstrom and Raven Klaasen teamed to defeat Tomasz Bednarek and Marinko Matosevic 5-7, 7-5, 10-5.
The evening matches on the stadium court will feature defending champion Kevin Anderson, the No. 6 seed, against Yen-HSUN Lu, followed by No. 1 seed John Isner against Go Soeda in the nightcap.