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Gulbis Wins Second Delray Beach Title

Delray Beach, U.S.A.

Gulbis© CameraSportErnests Gulbis is the fourth player to win two Delray Beach titles.

Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis defeated 105th-ranked Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-6(3), 6-3 to lift his second trophy at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships on Sunday. At No. 109 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, Gulbis won eight matches en route to his third ATP World Tour title: three in qualifying and five in the main draw.

“I'm really happy. I worked hard,” said Gulbis, who now dashes across country to Indian Wells, California, to play qualifying at the BNP Paribas Open. “These last nine days were tough. I had a match almost every day, except one day when it rained, so I'm exhausted now. It's my favourite tournament. It's the only tournament in the world I am winning.”

Having won their previous three meetings on the ATP Challenger Tour, the Latvian opened with a 2-0 lead before Roger-Vasselin settled into the match. The Frenchman held set point when serving at 5-4, but couldn’t capitalise. From there, Gulbis increased in confidence on serve, and went on the close out the victory in one hour and 36 minutes.

The match-up marked the first time two players ranked outside the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings contested an ATP World Tour final since 2007 in Houston (No. 108 Karlovic d. No. 156 Zabaleta). Gulbis is the first qualifier to win a tour-level trophy in more than a year. Jarkko Nieminen was the last player to achieve the feat at the Apia International Sydney in January 2012.

Gulbis, the 2010 titlist, improved to a 3-0 record in ATP World Tour finals and became the fourth multiple title winner at the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court event, joining Jan-Michael Gambill (2001, 2003), Jason Stoltenberg (1996-97) and Xavier Malisse (2005, 2007). He is the third qualifier to triumph in Delray Beach and his victory will see him rise 42 rankings places to No. 67.

“Everyone is really happy. 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.”

Roger-Vasselin was appearing in his first ATP World Tour final. His best previous tour-level result was five quarter-final showings.

“He deserved the win,” said Roger-Vasselin. “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. It will give me confidence for the next tournament.”

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