Ernests Gulbis became the third player after Xavier Malisse and Jan-Michael Gambill to win Delray Beach twice with a straight sets victory over Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-6(3) 6-3. After Roger-Vasselin and Gulbis knocked off the No.1 and No.2 seeds respectively in the semis, this final became the 60th between two players outside the top 100 although both players are comfortably inside it after this week – Gulbis at 67 and Roger-Vasselin at 78.
Heavily favoured to win, Gulbis got off to a good start by breaking Roger-Vasselin in his opening service game but couldn’t confirm the break as he dropped serve back immediately. A sloppy service game then saw Gulbis broken at 4-4 after he held a 30-0 lead in the service game, given Roger-Vasselin the opportunity to serve out the set.
The nerves that saw him wobble at times while ahead against John Isner resurfaced, combined with a fired up Gulbis, which saw the Latvian break back after saving set point. Both players then held meaning a tie break would be needed to settle the first set. Gulbis seized the advantage early on holding on from *2-1 and sealing the tie break with another point won on Roger-Vasselin’s serve.
Backed by an astonishing 86% first serve percentage in the second set, Gulbis proved unbreakable dropping just five points on serve. He would finally break through at 3-3, as part of a four game stretch to close out the match as Roger-Vasselin could not hold when serving to stay in the match.
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