Albert Montanes, recent winner at the Estoril Open, and conqueror of Roger Federer, took an early 3-1 lead over Gulbis, one of the stars of Rome earlier this month. Gulbis then smashed his racket in the eight game, recovering with a strong service game.
Monatnes had a chance to serve for the first set at 5-4 but looked a little tight, decelerating and dumping balls into the net, eventually giving Gulbis a double break point, the last of which was duly converted. Gulbis then held easily and benefited from Montanes’ forehand falling apart, eventually taking the set 7-5 after 59 minutes.
Gulbis then ran away with the second set, and the match, winning 7-5, 6-1. Montanes had early chances in the opening game, but Gulbis’ power was too great for the tiny Spaniard. The home crowd favourite (even if the arena was fairly empty) managed to get on the board in the fourth game but called for the trained to assess his right groin at 1-4. Montanes left the court with the physio to receive treatment. Montanes didn’t win another game in the final 2 lackluster games.
Gulbis will now face Mikhail Youzhny.