• Gulbis gets past Isner at Monte-Carlo Masters

    4/16/13 7:19 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Gulbis gets past Isner at Monte-Carlo Masters Ernests Gulbis overcomes Houston champion John Isner in three sets on Tuesday in Monte-Carlo. Gulbis will battle Juan Monaco for a spot in the third round.

    In a showdown between two in-form players, Ernests Gulbis got the best of John Isner 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the opening round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Tuesday. Gulbis fired 11 aces to his opponent's six as he advanced in one hour and 48 minutes.

    Coming off a clay-court title in Houston just two days earlier, Isner maintained his momentum with a blistering start. The 6'9'' American dug out of a 0-40 hole in the second game of the match to hold and stay on serve. That seemed to energize Isner, who broke twice in succession for a 4-1 advantage. The wild card immediately gave back one of the breaks, but he held comfortably at 4-3 and 5-4 to wrap up the first set.

    The quick turnaround, however, eventually caught up to Isner. He took a medical timeout at 2-3 in the second for an apparent hip issue before watching his opponent completely dominate the middle frame of play. Gulbis dropped a mere two points in four service games and he won all eight of his second-serve return points. The Latvian broke for 4-2 when Isner netted a forehand and again at love to force a decisive third.

    Isner dropped serve at love on a second consecutive occasion to fall behind 2-0 in the final set. One break was enough for Gulbis, who won 15 of 17 first-serve points in the decider. The world No. 56 held the entire way and converted his second match point (Isner saved one at 2-5 thanks to an ace) with a service winner.

    Gulbis, after recording a clean 32 winners to 18 unforced errors, will go up against Juan Monaco during second-round action on Wednesday. Monaco, a Houston semifinalist, dismissed Martin Klizan 6-4, 6-0.

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