Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 14th 2015 Contents A50
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, April 14, 2015
MONACO---Switching to clay did not make any
difference for Ernests Gulbis.
The 13th-seeded Latvian was eliminated from
the Monte Carlo Masters yesterday in the first
round, losing to Andreas Haider-Maurer 6-1, 6-
0 after another miserable display.
The two other seeded players in action enjoyed
a more comfortable afternoon, with top-ranked
John Isner and Roberto Bautista Agut advancing
in straight sets.
Gulbis, a semifinalist at last year's French Open,
has lost his way in recent months. He has won
only one match this year and lost in the opening
round in seven of the eight tournaments he has
played during the early hard-court season.
Against the 52nd-ranked Haider-Maurer, Gulbis
hit a flurry of unforced errors and spent less than
one hour on the court.
Gulbis said he has lost the confidence that helped
him break into the top 20 last season, with titles
in Marseille and a first trophy on clay in Nice.
Despite his poor record, he said he does not need
"I was in a great state of mind this week prac-
ticing," Gulbis said. "Everything was really good,
except the match. This one last hour was bad in
Monte Carlo. All the rest of the week was really
unbelievable. It was just this one hour."
Gulbis may be more perturbed than he admits
it, having recently changed his coaching setup
with the hiring of former top-five player Thomas
Enqvist. They started to work together one week
ago and Gulbis was not expecting things to gel
quickly enough for him to be ready in Monte Carlo.
"Everything is new for me. I think (Thomas) is
a very smart, intelligent guy who understands ten-
nis. That's enough for me," Gulbis said. "I think
it's still a lot to get to know each other. It's just
a matter of time."
Struggling with his big forehand, Gulbis enjoyed
a short bright spell in the second game of the sec-
ond set but failed to convert three straight break
Gulbis said his shoulder problems from last year
are still preventing him from hitting his forehands
It was Haider-Maurer's first win in Monte Carlo,
with the 28-year-old Austrian now set to face
Bernard Tomic in the second round.
Coming off an opening-round exit in Houston,
the 15th-seeded Isner came out on top in an all-
American match against Steve Johnson with a 6-
4, 6-4 win. Isner, who reached the semifinals in
Miami this month, played aggressively throughout
and hit two straight aces to seal his win and
advance to the second round for the first time.
No 12-seeded Bautista Agut needed only 52
minutes to defeat Benjamin Becker 6-0, 6-2.
Isner had poor results earlier this year before
playing some great tennis in Indian Wells and
Miami, where he posted wins over Milos Raonic
and Kei Nishikori. He is hopeful he can carry his
recent form into the clay season.
Fabio Fognini also advanced, beating big-serving
Jerzy Janowicz 6-3, 6-1. Janowicz lost in the first
round for the third time in as many visits to the
Fognini, a semifinalist in Monte Carlo two years
ago, put on a display on the clay, dictating from
the baseline and varying his shots well to force
the lanky Polish player around.
The hot-tempered Italian kept his head cool
early in the second set when he asked the umpire
to check a mark that he thought was wrongly
called out, giving the chance to Janowicz to show
his sense of humor on the next point when Fognini
fired a forehand way too long. Janowicz then turned
toward Fognini and raised one finger high to show
Gulbis loses in 1st round
at Monte Carlo Masters
the ball was obviously out.
Fognini won five consecutive games in the second
set and served out the match on his first occasion
when Janowicz sent a forehand long, snapping a
five-match losing streak.
Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany also progressed
alongside French qualifier Benoit Paire, David Gof-
fin and Alexander Dolgopolov, who saved 10 break
points in a hard-fought 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 win over
teenager Borna Coric. (AP)
Italian Fabio Fognini
serves the ball to Jerzy
Janowicz of Poland during
their match of the Monte
Carlo Tennis Masters
tournament in Monaco,
yesterday. Fognini won 6-
3, 6-1. AP Photo
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