• Haas and Gulbis clash in second round blockbuster

    5/1/13 8:58 PM | Cheryl Murray
    Haas and Gulbis clash in second round blockbuster In the most anticipated match of the tournament so far, German Tommy Haas and mercurial Latvian Ernests Gulbis will clash in the Munich second round.

    Ernests Gulbis and Tommy Haas have already met once in 2013, a three-set thriller in which Gulbis just edged Haas 7-6 in the third. Their other two meetings were also tightly contested, with Gulbis winning one and Haas the other (which was also their only other meeting on clay).

    The matchup seems to slightly favor Gulbis, who has won their last two encounters, but Haas has the edge because he'll be playing at home with the full support of his countrymen behind him.

    If both men are playing well, this should be quite an entertaining match. They are both shot-makers with plenty of weapons in the arsenal. But the match in the end will likely come down to whether Gulbis is in a good place mentally and can withstand the pressure Haas is sure to put on him.

    Prediction - Haas for the win in 3 entertaining sets.

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I somehow doubt that Haas will have "the edge because he'll be playing at home with the full support of his countrymen behind him", as Gulbis seems to relish a seemingly hostile audience, as long as they are there to watch the tennis.

I remember a demonstration of this resilient aspect of his character in Rome about five years ago, when he beat Seppi in five sets after dropping the first two in a Davis Cup tie on clay. On the other hand he's far too easily upset by an ignorant audience who are there to primarily talk, and maybe eat, rather than watch the tennis. This is what happened in Barcelona last week, when he lost to Raonic on a side court. Raonic was also upset by what was going on, and told the umpire at one stage that he didn't know how to run a match. In the end it was Raonic who was better equipped to cope with the situation.

I think maybe Gulbis's coach told him to concentrate totally on the tennis before his match against Nieminen on Tuesday, which was on a side court. Gulbis didn't go off the rails and won, but it looked to me as if he offered his fist to one noisy member of the audience off to his right when he was at the far end of the court from the main film camera.

Against Haas on the Centre Court on Thursday I don't expect there to be any external distractions that could make Gulbis blow up, so we should expect a level playing field, and I don't see what pressure that Haas may impose that Gulbis won't be able to handle.

lwalters , 5/1/13 11:28 PM

Gulbis; such a character, joy to watch. Only tennis player has the great charisma on the court other than great Rafa. The new IT boy of tennis.
Gulbis in three.

arwen , 5/2/13 7:55 AM

lwalters 5/1/13 11:28
So you give yourself the license of telling what is a knowledagle crowd and what is an 'ignorant' crowd.... you mean to say that in Barcelona nobody showed up to watch tennis?
If Gulbis' results depend on the crowd's whims of the day then he better do something else.

Shireling , 5/2/13 12:54 PM

Ha Ha. So Gulbis bites the dust.

ed251137 , 5/2/13 4:49 PM

I meant "Ignorant" in the way that some of them ignored the tennis. I got the impression from eye-witnesses that many of the spectators were ignorant of the behaviour expected of them at all tennis matches.

Also, there was a dining area close to the court, and the people there behaved as if they were in a restaurant, and made little if any allowance for the fact that they were at a tennis match. I would guess that most of the diners were corporate guests, and mainly there for the free food and drink.

Courtside dining will never ever happen at Wimbledon.

Such distractions were not in evidence during today's match, so Gulbis had no-one to blame but himself for losing. He still has a lot to learn about mental discipline, and the task may be beyond him. In the meantime, I find him entertaining to watch, except for the racket smashing. I'm in favour of instant disqualification for racket smashing, as it is a form of violence that sets a very poor example for young players. Both Borg and Federer behaved badly in their early teens, and both were told by their parents to behave or else no more tennis. Unfortunately Gulbis seems to have been indulged when he should have been slapped down ten or more years ago, which I think is why he hasn't yet grown out of being a big spoiled baby and mental midget.

lwalters , 5/2/13 5:30 PM

go Haas.

tennisnba , 5/2/13 6:38 PM

This is a desperate appeal to Fedfans: Please can you ask tennisnba to stop spamming.

Thank you.

rafaisthebest , 5/2/13 6:43 PM

Even the more lunatic fringe of Fedfans must disown Baa Baa Blacksheep by now.

The mind boggles at the time she must spend trawling the internet for every little crumb to feed her obsession(s)

ed251137 , 5/2/13 8:26 PM

lwalters 5/2/13 5:30 PM

Thx for explaining. Those conditions do seem oblivious and disrespectul to the players and the game.
Yeah, Gulbis is something else. People go on and on about how talented he is but to learn discipline can also be counted as a telent, one that he doesn't have.

Shireling , 5/2/13 8:55 PM

This is why we have to rely on moderation. There's no reason why spamming posts should not be deleted. This person is intent on not only disrupting discussion but also on taking up as much room as possible so people have to keep on scrolling.

It's mindless gibberish and a true waste of life.

Regarding Gulbis, I agree that it's not just about talent. Talent without discipline is a recipe for failure.

Nativenewyorker , 5/2/13 9:22 PM

Saw the 'catch up' on the ATP site (very poor quality like watching an old 8mm home movie) so hard to judge this match. Gulbis seemed rather sullen and for the most part lacked concentration. However, what struck me forcibly was Haas' movement - particularly his footwork. Hard to believe he is now 35! One can only mourn for what might have been had his career not been so cruelly interrupted when he was in his prime and then blighted by a laundry list of injuries. For a start, he had Federer's number!

ed251137 , 5/3/13 7:08 AM

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