After waiting two weeks to begin his 2015 season, Ernests Gulbis got off to a less-than-stellar start, but will look to get back on track in the opening round of the Australian Open. The Latvian No.1 drew an interesting opening round challenge in the form of rising Australian prospect Thanasi Kokkinakis. This marks the first time that the two competitors will meet on the professional tour and will likely make for entertaining television.
World No. 13 and all-around oddball Ernests Gulbis took part in a surprisingly strong season in 2014 – a year that saw him compile a 41-21 win-loss record; claim two titles (Marseille, Nice); and reach the semi-final round of the French Open, where he lost to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Now, he will look to add to his accomplishments this season and potentially break into the Top 10 on the tour.
However, the Latvian failed to get things going in Auckland, and lost his opening match to Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.
Young local prospect Thanasi Kokkinakis will look to make his country proud this year at the Australian Open and prove he is also a young gun to watch out for in 2015. He already holds a win over Julien Benneteau this season but lost in the second round of the Brisbane International to Bernard Tomic in straight sets. The world No. 147 will now look to break through with a strong showing against an unpredictable and potentially vulnerable Ernests Gulbis.
This marks the first time that these two competitors will meet on the professional tour and is certainly an enthralling opening round encounter that could make for must-watch television. Both are capable of entertaining tennis and that could lead to a fun match and a potential upset.
Prediction: Ernests Gulbis in Five Sets