Gulbis Tops Delbonis to Win Open de Nice Cote d’ Azur Title

by John on May 24, 2014

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Nineteenth-ranked Ernests Gulbis, playing with his usual panache, completed preparation for the French Open with a confidence-boosting 6-1, 7-6 (5) victory over Federico Delbonis in the final of the Open de Nice Cote d’ Azur this afternoon. The title was the second-seeded Latvian’s second of the year and sixth of his career. He improved to a perfect 6-0 in ATP Tour finals. Gulbis defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win at Marseilles in February. Delbonis, ranked No. 45 and seeded seventh, defeated top seed John Isner and fourth-seeded Gilles Simon en route to the Nice final. The 23-year-old Argentine won his maiden title at Sao Paulo in February and is now 1-2 in Tour finals. Gulbis bolted out of the blocks, serving an ace on the first point of the match and broke in the fourth and sixth games to take the opener in 25 minutes. Delbonis steadied in the second set and both held serve with relative ease until the seventh game, when the Argentine needed to stave off three break points before holding for 4-3. Gulbis saved two break points in the next game, double-faulting twice, but serving three aces. Serving at 5-6 to force a tiebreaker, the flashy Gulbis won all four points with drop-shot winners. Delbonis led 4-2 in the tie-break, but Gulbis fought back, winning five of the last six points to clinch the win in one hour and 38 minutes. “I am really happy to win here,” Gulbis said. “My next goal is to be Top 10, even Top 8. I think if I play well in the Grand Slams, I have a good chance. It’s tough to kick out somebody from the top as there’s a lot of good players but I am working on it.” Gulbis hit nine aces and double-faulted six times, while winning 91 percent of the points on his first serve. The Latvian had 30 winners to 13 for Delbonis and committed just one more unforced error (26-25) despite his aggressive play. Gulbis plays Lukasz Kubot in the first round of the French Open, which starts tomorrow. Delbonis faces Dusan Lajovic in his opener.

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