A highly intriguing second round encounter is scheduled to take place on Wednesday afternoon in Nice, as Latvian No. 1 Ernests Gulbis and Martin Klizan of Slovakia will meet for the first time on the professional circuit.
Ernests Gulbis is coming off a third round exit in Rome to Spain’s David Ferrer. Prior to that, he had reached the quarter-finals in Madrid, where he also lost to Ferrer, and the semi-finals in Barcelona, where he lost to Kei Nishikori. He will be looking for a few more wins in his tune-up for the French Open, and a win over the surging Slovak would certainly provide the necessary preparation.
Martin Klizan rallied past Bernard Tomic of Australia 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to secure entry into the second round of the tournament. He Slovak is coming off a recent ATP World Tour title win in Munich, where he defeated German No. 1 Tommy Haas and Italian No. 1 Fabio Fognini in consecutive fashion. He also picked up wins over Denis Istomin and Mikhail Youzhny in the draw. He will look to carry forth that momentum through this week in Nice.
This marks the first time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour. IT is certainly a tough match-up to call, as Klizan has earned several extraordinary wins on clay so far this season, and will be looking to add to his Top 20 wins with a victory over Gulbis. The result of the match-up will depend on Gulbis’ performance and whether he can produce his crafty tennis on Wednesday afternoon.
Prediction: Ernests Gulbis in Three Sets