2/14/13 4:24 AM | Cheryl Murray
Last year's finalists Juan Martin Del Potro and Roger Federer will both take the court on Thursday, with spots in the weekend's quarterfinals up for grabs.
Juan Martin Del Potro (2) vs. Ernests Gulbis (Q)
Ernests Gulbis played a brilliant first-round match against Robin Haase to earn the right to play Del Potro on Thursday. The Latvian had not played a single ATP Tour-level match prior to this week and his most recent result was a first-round ouster at a Challenger event. The win over world No. 50 Haase was a good one for Gublis, but Del Potro indoors will be a different matter.
It's not that Gulbis can't beat top players. He took out Tomas Berdych early at Wimbledon last year, but his brilliance is intermittent and regardless of his first-round accomplishments, Del Potro is the prohibitive favorite.
Prediction - Del Potro in straight sets.
Roger Federer (1) vs. Thiemo de Bakker (WC)
Defending champion and top seed Roger Federer will take on Dutch wildcard Thiemo de Bakker for a spot in Friday's quarterfinals. De Bakker upset Mikhail Youzhny in the first round, but the Russian was struggling with a back injury and eventually had to retire in the third set.
Federer was brutally efficient in his first round match against Grega Zemlja. The Swiss is looking for his first title of the year, and indoors in Rotterdam is a good candidate. Federer is one of the best indoor players of all time; the speedy surface makes his serve even more lethal.
De Bakker, ranked 123rd in the world, hasn't yet managed to qualify for an ATP level tournament; he got into Rotterdam with a wildcard.
Prediction - Federer in straight sets.
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