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  • Haas, Gulbis clash in Delray Beach semifinals

    3/2/13 4:16 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Haas, Gulbis clash in Delray Beach semifinals It will be a rematch of a U.S. Open five-setter when Tommy Haas goes up against Ernests Gulbis on Saturday in Delray Beach. A place in the title match is at stake.


    Tommy Haas and Ernests Gulbis will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers when they do battle in the semifinals of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships on Saturday. They split their two previous meetings; Haas prevailed 6-2, 5-7, 7-5 four years ago in Madrid before Gulbis stormed back from two sets and a break down in the third to stun Haas 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of last summer's U.S. Open.

    Gulbis survived another wild one on Thursday, recovering from a 4-0 deficit in the third set to upset Sam Querrey 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(4). The 109th-ranked Latvian, who had to qualify just to get into the main draw, preceded that victory with a 6-1, 6-4 win over James Blake and he beat Daniel Munoz-De La Nava by the same score on Friday. Gulbis, who also played well in Rotterdam and Marseille, is 6-2 at the ATP level this season.

    Haas is bouncing back nicely from a virus that forced him out of last week's event in Memphis before his second-round match. The 34-year-old German has defeated Igor Sijsling (via retirement), Denis Istomin, and Ivan Dodig so far in Delray Beach. He is 8-3 for his 2013 campaign, which includes a runner-up finish last month in San Jose.

    Although Haas is a considerable favorite on paper at No. 19 in the world, this one looks like a toss-up based on current form. The No. 2 seed will have to serve better than he did against Dodig (57 percent, five double-faults) while Gulbis cannot afford any mental lapses like he had against Querrey.

    Look for Haas to win a competitive three-setter between two former Delray Beach champions thanks to superior consistency.

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