World No. 19 Ernests Gulbis and No. 61 Albert Montanes will meet for a sixth time on the professional tour on Friday afternoon, when the collide for a spot in the final of the Open de Nice Cote d’Azur. Gulbis leads the head-to-head series 4-1, which includes a straight sets victory last month in Barcelona.
Latvian No. 1 Ernests Gulbis began his week in Nice with a three set win over Martin Klizan in the second round, before defeating Dmitry Tursunov in the quarter-finals earlier today. While he needed three sets in both his matches so far this week, he was ultimately the more consistent player and will require a similar effort in his semi-final match-up against Spain’s Albert Montanes.
After losing in the opening round in Rome, Montanes arrived in Nice where he quickly picked up wins over Mathtew Ebden, Sam Querrey and Leonardo Mayer to set up his semi-final clash with Gulbis. The Spaniard had recently picked up wins over Alexandr Dolgopolov and Benoit Paire as well.
This marks the sixth time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour and the second time in two months, as they clashed in Barcelona last month. Gulbis leads the series 4-1, including the last four consecutive matches dating back to the 2009 Australian Open. While their most recent match-up was a 7-5, 6-1 win for the Latvian, Montanes is capable of snatching a set this time around as he appears to be more comfortable in Nice. However, it is highly unlikely that he will manage an upset over the cult favourite.
Prediction: Ernests Gulbis in Three Sets