VIENNA, October 23, 2015
Ernests Gulbis became the first player to reach the semi-finals of the € 2,324 Mio. Erste Bank Open 500 on Friday. In front of a with 9,100 specatators fully packed Wiener Stadthalle the 27-year-old Latvian, who dropped to 117th position in the ATP Rankings due to wrist injury, toppled ace king Ivo Karlovic in two tie-break-sets. Gulbis won 87% of his first service points, withstood 19 aces, improving 2-0 in head to head record against the seventh seeded Croatian after one hour and 42 minutes.
“I only played two good tournaments this season. In Montreal and now here in Vienna. Due to my wrist injury I was forced to retire in the opening rounds at the US-Open and in Shenzhen. I was not at my best in St. Petersburg, too. So I decided to come to Vienna in order to practice with Günter Bresnik. My wrist received an intense treatment and it does feel better now,” told Gulbis, who beat Austrian qualifier Lucas Miedler in the opening round. “This wasn’t my best match, but improved in the second round and today was really good,” he added.
Gulbis will take on Steve Johnson next, who knocked out second seed Kevin Anderson, winning 5-7, 7-6, 6-4. In an even affair, the world number 47 from the United States had the better ending after two hours and 37 minutes to reach his third semi-final of the season, following the tournaments in Washington and Winston-Salem.
Top-seed David Ferrer downed Fabio Fognini, winning 6-4, 6-2. The 33-year-old Spaniard converted four of his five break Points to improve to 9-0 in head to head records against the Italian after one hour and 14 minutes. With this victory Ferrer has reached 50 match wins for the sixth straight season.
“I know that Fabio is a very good player, but sometimes not steady enough. The first set was pretty close and he was a break up. During this stage of the match, I had to fight for every point. In the second set, he lost a bit of his focus, I was there and capitalized on my chances,” Ferrer analyzed afterwards.
Gael Monfils is the fourth semi-finalist taking on the Spaniard on Saturday. The sixth seeded Frenchman defeated Lukas Rosol 6-7, 6-3, 6-3. Monfils fired 19 aces, didn’t face a break point and won 82% of his first Service points to prevail in one hour and 52 minutes.