3/4/13 8:01 AM | Ricky Dimon
Ernests Gulbis defeats Edouard Roger-Vasselin in straight sets on Sunday in Delray Beach for his third career ATP title. Gulbis surges from outside the Top 100 to No. 67 in the world.
Ernests Gulbis captured his second career Delray Beach title by beating Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-6(3), 6-3 on Sunday afternoon. The Latvian qualifier broke serve four times and saved one set point in the opening frame of play before prevailing in one hour and 36 minutes.
Playing in his third ATP final against an inexperienced opponent, Gulbis came out firing. He broke right away for 2-0 but just when it looked like he was off to the races he donated serve in the very next game. A disgusted world No. 109 continued to struggle and a double-fault on break point at 4-4 put him in dire straights. Gulbis, however, broke back to stay alive--even fighting off set point with a scorching backhand pass.
The former French Open quarterfinalist had held his nerve impressively in third-set tiebreaker wins over Sam Querrey and Tommy Haas, and his mental game was on display again in this one. Gulbis stormed through the ensuing tiebreaker seven points to three, thus regaining the upper hand.
Roger-Vasselin steadied himself briefly in set two, but for the most part it was one-way traffic the rest of the way. The 105th-ranked Frenchman dropped serve at 3-3 and again at 3-5 to end his first-ever appearance in an ATP title match.
"He deserved the win," Roger-Vasselin admitted. "I thought I served pretty well. I had a set point but he made an unbelievable backhand winner. When you lose in a final, it’s tough, but it was a great week for me."
"Everyone is really happy," assured an unusually determined Gulbis. "We didn’t think it was going to happen so fast,” Gulbis said. "My coach felt I would go back into the Top 100 in April. I won eight matches in row here. It’s a really good start to the year.
"It's my favorite tournament. It's the only tournament in the world I am winning."
Gulbis actually won the 2011 Los Angeles title as well, to go along with Delray Beach triumphs in 2010 and now 2013.
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