We can savour another all-Spanish Masters final on Sunday when Nadal takes on David Ferrer. Tennis fans who think variety is the spice of life might find Saturday’s Nadal vs. Gulbis semi to be the tastier dish. (From what I’ve googled, Latvian food is very mild – think boiled grey peas with bacon and jellied meat. . .yum?) Ernests Gulbis certainly put out the smorgasbord on Saturday, showing off souffle-fluffy drop shots, sliced-and-diced net play and a forehand that blazed like an habanero pepper.
Here are the ATP’s video highlights from Saturday. Buon appetito!
That was quite the camera signing from Rafa. He was obviously thrilled to win what he called his “toughest win on clay this year.”
And for dessert – a second helping of Ernests! (via the Rome Masters website)
“Honestly I expected a little bit more from him (Nadal) today,” said Gulbis. “I thought he was going to be much tougher on my backhand against his left-handed forehand with spin so I thought that was going to be tough, but actually I got into the game and didn’t have any problems in going into rallies with him. I knew it was going to be tough because it doesn’t really matter who is serving in the end. The last game of the match, I would have preferred him to serve. It was a little bit of extra pressure for me and I rushed things and tried to win the points too early or too fast. He just kept the ball in the court and he really didn’t do much in the last game. I made some mistakes – you don’t wait for him to make mistakes.”
“I hope I’ll be in form for the French Open and Wimbledon and I hope I don’t have to play against the top players right away because it’s the first matches which are the toughest ones,” he said of the forthcoming European Grand Slams. “I think I have a good chance in these tournaments if I’m stable enough, if I don’t go out of my mind and if I don’t take a holiday when I shouldn’t be taking one.”
He reportedly smiled when asked about Victoria Azarenka, Daniela Hantuchova and Melanie Oudin, who were all watching from the stands (they’re all in town for the upcoming women’s event). “Who was watching me play today? I’m becoming popular with the girls now! I’m flying home tonight and there in Latvia it is Saturday night…!” (laughter) “Vika is just an old friend and I think she likes the way I’m playing. I think she might want to learn something from me!”
I think we all learned something new about Ernests this week. Maybe we’ll learn more. . .let me know if you hooked up with him in a Riga disco on Saturday, okay?