He would need six match points to do so but Tomas Berdych saw off Ernests Gulbis in an excellent three set contest to move into the quarter finals in Marseille, winning 6-4 6-7(10) 6-3. Berdych saw off early pressure on his serve, saving two break points at 2-2 and would finally get to the Latvian’s serve in game 10 of the set. Serving to stay in it, Gulbis failed to hold his nerve dropping serve to 30 and with it the set.
Gulbis upped his level in the second set, serving 10 aces (19 in total) but would still have to settle for a tie break after the players had exchanged breaks midway through the set. The first four points would be won by the returner before Berdych stopped the rot by holding for a 3-2 lead. He would however give up the minibreak to fall 4-5 down, and Gulbis would then gain two set points. Both would be failed to be taken as Berdych reeled off three straight points for his first match point. Each player then held both their points, saving set and match points respectively before Gulbis dropped his serve to go 10-9 down on the Berdych serve. Astonishingly, the Latvian would win both points on return and finally close out the tie break at 12-10 to take it to a third set.
After the craziness of the tie break, the excitement died down a little in the third as both players traded routine holds before Gulbis disappointingly lost serve to 15 to fall 3-2 down. That would be all Berdych needed as he served out the match at 5-4, but it wouldn’t be straight forward. Two more match points (4 and 5) would go before the Czech could finally close the match out.
In comparison, Gilles Simon‘s 7-5 7-5 victory over Robin Haase was a little lacking in drama. All the early pressure was on the Frenchman with Haase having four break points at 2-1 up but failed to take any of them. After trading holds to 5-5, Simon finally made the break through to go 6-5 up and serve the set out.
The second set was a topsy-turvy affair with breaks all over the place. Simon quickly fell 3-0 down after Haase converted an early break point, but came back fighting and would reel off three straight games to tie it up. Once more, Simon was wasteful on break points (3/10 in the set) and it showed as he failed to take advantage of the four in the seventh game of the set to go a break up. However he would break in the next game to have the chance to serve out the match, only to drop serve to love. Thankfully for Simon, Haase did exactly the same back – allowing Simon to serve out the match again. This time there were no such issues, as the Frenchman converted on his first match point to move on into the second round.
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