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Fabio Fognini vs Ernests Gulbis ATP Gstaad Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Mercurial duo meet in Gstaad quarter-finals

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 27 Jul 2017
  • Fabio Fognini vs Ernests Gulbis is live from Gstaad on Friday, 28 July from 5:00pm local time/ 4:00pm BST
  • Gulbis leads 3-1 on head-to-head

Two of the most enigmatic players on the tour- Fabio Fognini and Ernests Gulbis- meet in a tasty quarter final at the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open in Gstaad on Friday.

Fognini is into his fourth quarter final of the year, following his efforts on the clay of Sao Paolo and Umag; and the hard courts of Miami. He lost both quarter finals on clay, and won in Miami to reach his only semi-final in an otherwise underwhelming 2017.

The Italian made a slow start to his campaign on European clay, opening with three straight losses in Monte Carlo, Budapest and Munich, but he slowly progressed with a second round in Madrid and back-to-back third round showings in Rome and Roland Garros. Fognini reached his first clay-court quarter final of 2017 in Umag, falling to eventual champion, Andrey Rublev in a third set tie break, and has now repeated that performance in Gstaad. Can he go one better and reach his first semi-final on clay in 2017?

Having received a bye into the second round, Fognini took on Slovakian, Norbert Gombos in his Gstaad opener- and he made a terrible start, dropping the opening set 6-1. The world number 31 hit back in the second set, scoring the decisive break in the tenth game to force the match into a decider. He fell into early trouble when he dropped his serve in the opening service game of the final set, but he responded with back-to-back breaks, before going on to complete a 1-6 6-4 6-3 victory in an hour and 42 minutes.

An entertaining quarter final awaits as the 29-year-old takes on fellow enigma, Ernests Gulbis on Friday. Former top-ten player, Gulbis only made his return from injury this year, and after a labored re-introduction to the tour, the Latvian is beginning to pick up pace in his climb back up the world rankings.

After sitting out virtually the entire second half of last season, Gulbis made his return to the tour in Rotterdam this year, where he failed to get through the qualifiers. The former Roland Garros semi-finalist also fell in the qualifiers at Indian Wells, Miami, Barcelona and Estoril.

Gulbis lost in the opening round at Roland Garros, but it all started coming together for the Latvian at Wimbledon, where he won his first main draw match in over a year in the opening round against Victor Estrella Burgos. He backed it up with a huge 6-4 6-4 7-6 victory over Juan Martin del Potro in the second round. Gulbis’ run ended with a straight sets defeat to Novak Djokovic in the third round, but the 28-year-old had left his mark at the All England Club- he was on the comeback trail.

Gulbis reached the second round in last week’s Swedish Open, losing to Karen Khachanov, but he has now progressed to his first quarter final of the season, his first quarter final since the Vienna Open in 2015. He opened with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Daniel Brands, before overcoming Italian veteran, Paolo Lorenzi 7-6 3-6 6-4 to book his spot in the last eight. The opening set against Lorenzi was crucial, with Gulbis missing four set points on Lorenzi’s serve at 5-6 and three more in the tie break before eventually closing out a 22-point breaker on his eighth set point. He also had to save two set points in the tie break. Lorenzi responded by taking the second set, but Gulbis stole a late break in the tenth game of the final set to snatch a 7-6 3-6 6-4 victory after two hours and 40 minutes.

This will be the fourth meeting between Gulbis and Fognini, with the former leading the head-to-head 3-1. Fognini actually won the first ever encounter between the pair, but Gulbis hit back with three wins in a row, including their only previous meeting on clay. 

I feel Fognini has the more balanced game- but Gulbis has searing weapons in his serve and particularly the backhand. In a match between two very emotional players, it may well come down to who manages that aspect better than the other. I’m leaning towards another Gulbis victory here.

Fabio Fognini vs Ernests Gulbis is live from Gstaad on Friday, 28 July from 5:00pm local time/ 4:00pm BST

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Fabio Fognini vs Ernests Gulbis ATP Gstaad Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Mercurial duo meet in Gstaad quarter-finals

Fabio Fognini and Ernests Gulbis meet in a tasty quarter final in Gstaad on Friday. Which of these mercurial duo will make the semis? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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