Maiden title for Gulbis
Latvian Ernests Gulbis comfortably defeated big-serving Ivo Karlovic 6-2 6-3 to win the ATP Delray Beach International.
Last Updated: 01/03/10 9:13am
Ernests Gulbis claimed his first ATP Tour title with a clinical 6-2 6-3 victory over Ivo Karlovic in the final of the Delray Beach International.
The Latvian needed just one hour and 20 minutes to upset the odds against the second-seeded Karlovic in Florida.
Gulbis, unseeded for the tournament, recorded two breaks in each set while winning all eight of his service games.
The 21-year-old saved a break point in the first set when he trailed 2-1 before going on to reel off five games in a row on his way to a 1-0 lead.
The second was simillarly straightforward, the red-hot Gulbis recording an early break to make sure he would triumph without losing a set all week.
Karlovic, celebrating his 31st birthday, saved three match points with aces in the final game before finally succumbing with a double fault - his fifth of the day.
A delighted Gulbis dedicated his victory to his country, adding that he hoped it would inspire a new generation of players to take up the game.
"Everything I do now is first time for my country," he stated. "Of course it's great. I hope it's positive. I hope much more players will start to practise in Latvia.
"It's good for tennis in Latvia. They see that a guy from Latvia also can make it and win an ATP World Tour event.
"I felt comfortable. I like being in the final. I felt nobody's giving me pressure.
"It was really windy today; it was tough wind. I think he couldn't get really good timing for the serve. He wasn't hitting so many first serves in. I knew what I had to do against him."
A magnanimous Karlovic added: "He was playing really good. Everything that he hit was in.
"He was very cool, calm. Nothing could impress him. This year is going to be his breakthrough."