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03-01-2013, 12:18 PM
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Gulbis takes a very easy first set, 6-1. Munoz-De La Nava had trouble keeping the ball in play and kept shanking return of serves. Gulbis' wonky forehand looked good in that set. It still seems a technically risky stroke but he was hitting more winners than errors off it for a change....

2-0 Ernests in a snap in the second. Munoz-De La Nava is a strange piece of business. He is not at all quick, his lateral movement just so so; he possesses no dominant shot; his second serve would be a cupcake on the women's tour for chrissakes, and anything hit with real pace seems to eat him up alive. And, lest I forget, his footwork occasionally recalls the hippo ballerinas in Fantasia (seriously--he sometimes opts for a peculiar tippy-toe backhand). However, all this is not good news for Gulbis who is getting bored--there was a long shot of him seemingly staring up at a flock of birds going by--who contributed several wild mis-hits of his own in a game he should have won to go 2-1...ah, but holding serve is so easy (19 of 20 first serve points won), 4-2....Gulbis lets another potential break slip away with loose play of his own. Some cracks showing in his concentration, perhaps, but The Worst Spanish Player in Tennis History has shown no ability whatsoever to do anything with Ernests's serve, so he should be all right...and in the time it took me to write that, Ernests holds at love, 5-3...serving for the match, Gulbis throws in two double faults for drama, but then wins the match with an ace, 6-1, 6-4, and through to the semis.

Sort of a surreal setting. There is a red convertible on the edge of the court, a prize to the winner of the tournament undoubtedly. But I noticed late in the match that there were actually two middle-aged matrons sitting in it, winners of some strange promotion no doubt. They kept peering at the match over the dashboard. Odd thing to see on a tennis court. At one point late in the second set when Ernests looked so disengaged I thought that he might start buffing his nails, he returned a serve at 600 miles an hour just for the hell of it and when it barely missed the far sideline, he smiled sheepishly at the ladies who, a few feet away from him, were watching the events unfold behind tinted glass in their comfortable bucket seats.

Last edited by kihei: 03-01-2013 at 05:01 PM.
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