OPEN 13 2014
Gulbis Wins Fifth ATP World Tour Title In Marseille
by ATP Staff|
Ernests Gulbis revealed his No. 1 ambition after beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to the Open 13 crown on Sunday in Marseille. The Latvian upset second seed and defending champion Tsonga 7-6(5), 6-4.
The third-seeded Gulbis had toppled top seed Richard Gasquet in the semi-finals and went on to win his first ATP World Tour title since triumphing at the St. Petersburg Open in October (d. Garcia-Lopez). The 25 year old received 250 Emirates ATP Ranking points and $99,545 in prize money.
Gulbis is on the verge of cracking the Top 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time. This time last year, the right-hander was outside the Top 100 at No. 109, but a strong 12 months has seen him surge back up to World No. 23.
"My long-term goal in tennis isn't to be Top 20. It's to be No. 1," stated Gulbis. "Anything less than that wouldn't make me fully satisfied. I don't want to get to 30 years old, look back on my career and say I didn't make something of it. Everybody's looking for satisfaction in life, and my joy and happiness is based on my tennis career.
"I think [the top players] feel threatened by my game, because they know if I serve well and I'm aggressive, then it's tough to play against me. I don't feel I'm in the same league as the [Top 4] yet, I need to prove it. Game-wise, I think that I can be."
In beating Tsonga for the second time in five FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, Gulbis was denied on 10 of the 11 break points he faced, but found a way to win in one hour and 34 minutes, hitting 14 aces and winning 77 per cent of his service points. He is a perfect 5-0 in ATP World Tour finals.
"It's a really nice small record for me," said Gulbis of his record in ATP World Tour finals. "5-0 is really good. I remember when I used to play Futures and Challengers, I think I lost maybe one or two finals. When I get into finals I really have good form and good confidence and play my best tennis. Today I was serving really well and in the tie-break I was feeling really, really confident.
"I'm very happy right now, but the reality is that you're back on court in two days. I want to keep both feet on the ground. There's a couple of big tournaments coming up. It's been a great week, but I want to build on it."
Gulbis improved to a 14-38 record against Top 10 opponents, 3-2 in 2014. As well as wins over Gasquet and Tsonga, he defeated Juan Martin del Potro en route to the Rotterdam semi-finals last week.
Tsonga was looking to win the Marseille crown for the third time, following victories in 2009 (d. Llodra) and 2013 (d. Berdych). The Frenchman dropped to a 10-9 finals record.
"It was a high quality match today and I have no regrets. He was very solid and took a lot of risks," said Tsonga. "It was a positive week for me. It was important to get some matches under my belt. This is important for the confidence. Ernests has a great game and can beat the best players in the world."