A highly unpredictable second round contest takes place at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, as budding talent Grigor Dimitrov and flashy Latvian Ernests Gulbis are scheduled to cross paths for the first time on the professional tour. Following dicey opening round matches for both athletes, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top in this first time encounter.
World No. 19 Grigor Dimitrov took part in a roller-coaster contest against Dmitry Tursunov in the opening round in Rotterdam. After breezing through the opening set 6-2, Dimitrov suffered a lapse in focus and allowed Tursunov to steal the second set 6-1 to force a decider. Dimitrov would drop serve at 2-1, but would break back immediately to remain competitive in the match. Late in the contest, the young Bulgarian failed to convert his first match point opportunity at 5-4, losing in a 38-stroke rally – the longest and most entertaining in the entire match. He finally converted his second chance a short while later, when Tursunov missed a volley.
Dimitrov had been off the tour since his outstanding run at the Australian Open, where he reached the quarter-final stage, defeating Bradley Klahn, Yen-Hsun Lu, Milos Raonic and Roberto Bautista Agut before succumbing to eventual finalist Rafael Nadal. Following his breakthrough season in 2013, Dimitrov is on a mission to continue his rise through the rankings.
In what was far from his best performance this year, Lativa’s Ernests Gulbis defeated Denis Istomin to reach the second round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. Gulbis hit seven aces and lost just seven of his first service points earn the 6-4, 7-6(4) victory in just over 90 minutes. After reaching his first quarter-final at the Qatar Exxon Mobil Open, where he lost to eventual champion Rafael Nadal, Gulbis will be looking to reach a similar stage here in Rotterdam, but will need to topple his next obstacle – the youngest member of the Top 20, Grigor Dimitrov.
This marks the first time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour and will likely be an entertaining, if only for its unpredictability. Both players are bursting with natural talent, yet falter at unexpected times, sometimes costing them sets and even matches. The athlete who remains more focused and determined here will likely come out victorious. In all scenarios, this one is likely going three sets.
Prediction: Grigor Dimitrov in Three Sets