LATVIAN TENNIS STAR ERNESTS GULBIS REMAINS ON FIRE IN STOCKHOLM • LONDON HOPEFULS ISNER AND FOGNINI CRASH OUT

Written by: on 20th October 2018
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Stockholm Open tennis tournament
LATVIAN TENNIS STAR ERNESTS GULBIS REMAINS ON FIRE IN STOCKHOLM • LONDON HOPEFULS ISNER AND FOGNINI CRASH OUT

epa07107298 Ernests Gulbis of Lattvia celebrates after his semifinal match against John Isner of US in the ATP tennis tournament Stockholm Open at the Royal Tennis Hall in Stockholm, Sweden, 20 October 2018. EPA-EFE/Erik Simander/TT SWEDEN OUT  |
Ernests Gulbis of Lattvia celebrates after his semifinal match against John Isner of US in the ATP tennis tournament Stockholm Open at the Royal Tennis Hall in Stockholm, Sweden, 20 October 2018.  EPA-EFE/Erik Simander/TT  SWEDEN OUT

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

Ernests Gulbis is turning back the clock at the Intrum Stockholm Open. The roller-coaster ride that is Gulbis’ career is suddenly trending upward again and has him through to his first ATP final since 2014. The 145th-ranked Latvian continued his run on Saturday with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over John Isner.

 

Gulbis recovered from a disastrous first set by saving the only break point he faced during the second and dropping only six total service points in the third. Two breaks of his own in the decider were more than enough to send the 30-year-old across the finish line after one hour and 48 minutes.

 

“I was fighting for every point,” said Gulbis, who will battle Stefanos Tsitsipas for the title. “I think I returned a lot smarter in the second and third set.

 

“I like the way I am playing now; I like the way I am feeling, the way I am hitting and moving. If I play like this, I can beat anybody. I can give anybody trouble, for sure, so it is not going to be an easy match for [Tsitsipas] tomorrow. It is probably not going to be an easy match in general.”

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in action during his semifinal match against Fabio Fognini of Italy in the ATP tennis tournament Stockholm Open at the Royal Tennis Hall in Stockholm, Sweden, 20 October 2018. EPA-EFE/Erik Simander/TT SWEDEN OUT

Tsitsipas booked a spot in his third career final–and third of the season–by making routine 6-3, 6-2 work of Fabio Fognini. The 20-year-old Greek fought off all four of Fognini’s break chances and cruised in one hour and 16 minutes.

 

“It was to stay patient,” Tsitsipas answered when asked about the key to the match. “[Fabio] was going for shots and the beginning of the match was really tough…. I was patient in the rallies. That is how I got the win today.”

 

While the second seed is looking for his first-ever ATP title, Gulbis is a perfect 6-0 lifetime in finals.

 

Both Isner and Fognini remain outside the cut line in the race to London. The 6’10” American, however, passed Kei Nishikori for the No. 9 spot and would currently get into the Nitto ATP Finals with a withdrawal from either Juan Martin Del Potro or Rafael Nadal.

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @TennGrand.

 

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