ATP Valencia Open 2013 R1: John Isner vs Ernests Gulbis Preview

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 John Isner


A highly entertaining contest between Ernests Gulbis (Player Profile) and American No. 1 John Isner (Player Profile) takes place tomorrow afternoon in the opening round in Valencia. Isner is yet to defeat Gulbis after two previous encounters and it will likely be another difficult contest tomorrow. Check out the Isner v Gulbis Head to Head.

Gulbis reached his third ATP semi-final of the season last week in the If Stockholm Open, losing only to World No. 3 David Ferrer. He has already won two ATP titles this year (Delray Beach Open &  St. Petersburg Open) and will be looking for his third title of the season, a record for the Latvian. He has since risen 10 spots in the rankings and could now potentially end the year within the top 20 for the first time in his career. The World No. 25 holds a 37-16 record this season with a 12-3 indoor record.

Isner has not had a particularly great season on the tour this year. His best performance came when he beat Richard Gasquet, Milos Raonic, then-World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro (saving one match point) en route to ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati final, the second at this level of his career. He was unable to carry forth that momentum as he would exit the US Open in the third round, marking the first time in the history of the tournament that an American male wouldn’t reach the second week of the tournament. Since then, he lost in the quarter-finals of the Beijing Open to Tomas Berdych and in the second round in Shanghai. He will be looking to turn his fortunes around when he meets the Latvian tomorrow afternoon.

This is the third time Gulbis and Isner meet on the professional tour and while the American is higher ranked, he has been unable to defeat the crafty Latvian. Gulbis holds a win over Isner on both clay and grass court, with the most recent being a clay court victory in Monte Carlo earlier this year. Their first meeting was a fantastic five set encounter in first round of the Wimbledon championships. This marks their first meeting on hard courts – Isner’s preferred surface. It will be interesting to see if he is able to topple the Latvian on the indoor surface or whether Gulbis will make it three wins in a row.

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