Gulbis beats Federer to set up French Open QFs against Berdych

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Ernests Gulbis

Roger Federer, seed number four, failed to reach the quarter-finals of French Open 2014 as he fell short against Ernests Gulbis who prevailed in five sets. The eighteenth-seeded Latvian broke first in the opener, but could not confirm it and the rivals would only be told apart in the ensuing tie-break where Roger came back from 5-3* to claim the set after a well struck passing shot. He then lost a serve from 40-0 in the initial game of the set two, yet he responded with a couple of breaks and was serving for a double set lead at 5-4. He had the second set on his racket, but could not put away a routine smash and Gulbis eventually broke back. The spurned chance has proved costly for FedEx as another breaker followed in which the players again changed ends at 3 points apiece before the inspired Latvian won four successive rallies to level the terms.

The Swiss Maestro tried to reassert his authority in the third set, yet his game became too erroneous for the surging adversary who hardly put a foot wrong in that part of the clash and broke the favorite twice in a row to lead 2-1 in sets. However, Roger bounced back in the following one where he improved on his accuracy to create a double break cushion by 5-2. The Latvian then asked for a medical timeout and appeared much stronger after it. He pegged one break back and continued to threaten Federer, yet the latter capitalized on the second set point to take the match to the distance. The outcome of the final set would be decided early on when the Swiss gifted a break to the rival which was consolidated for a 3-0 advantage. Gulbis stayed focused on his serve throughout the decider to record a marvelous 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 triumph.

“It’s the biggest win of my career,” Gulbis told in an on-court interview. “Sorry I had to win. I know how everyone likes Roger. It was a tough match but this is sport. I’ve been playing very well in France. I won tournaments in Marseille and Nice, hopefully Paris is the next one.”

In the quarter-final he will square off against sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych who secured the spot in the last 8 following a comfortable straight sets victory over tenth seed American John Isner. The US player could not get an initiative in any of the sets as he suffered an early loss of serve each time and squandered both break point chances he had generated. The Czech scored 11 aces to Isner’s 7 and maintained an 83% first serve points won percentage over the course of the fourth round clash to win 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

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