May/18

19

Look Who’s Back–Ernie!!

Ernests_Gulbis_01
For some reason, Ernests Gulbis reminds me of Jack Nicholson. And now like Jack in “The Shining” Gulbis has re-re-appeared again. It’s amazing. I thought Gulbis was like 33 until I looked it up and he’s only 29. And like a fine wine, Ernie G seems miraculously to be aging well. This week in the Bordeaux Challenger, Ernie has somehow played himself into the semifinals where he’ll play today, the American Giant Redux, Reilly Opelka. This just in…Gulbis lost by the same scores, 6-3, 7-6 to Opelka, only reversed, that Djokovic, Gulbis’s old teenage running mate at the German academy they both attended, lost to Nadal today. Still it’s a good run for Ernie, who this week, beat two formidable clay opponents, Gimeno-Traver and Rogerio Dutra Silva. Maybe that’s the key for Ernie, he needs to play more players who go by three names.

Gulbis is finally showing some life and maybe illustrating that he can break out of his 2 1/2 year slump since he was a top-100 player again. Before Bordeaux, Ernie’s ranking was at 190, a large leap upwards since he sported a 589-ranking in July of 2017. And Ernie’s three wins this week were the first time since February when the Latvian was able to best a top-500 player.

Maybe this revival of sorts is what Ernie was talking about when he said in February: “For me my goal right now is to finish on my own terms. I still need to reach something, something big for myself.” Knowing Ernie and his past history of being a slam semi-finalist and beating some of the world’s best players, this week in Bordeaux is probably not what he believes will be his crescendo.

Gulbis’s new coach is Pjotrs Necajevs (he’s also a Latvian, 31, who won a total of $525 on tour)ernie, who I’ve never heard of, but he wins the vowel contest for most in a name. Let’s hope Pjotrs can get Ernie moving in the right direction because there’s not a more perplexing but fascinating player than Ernie on tour.

40 comments

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 19, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Happy to see Gulbis competitive again and winning matches. He’s had some horrific losses to really low ranked no names, like outside the top 500. He really is a special player in his own way of course, major SFist, top 15 player, undefeated in ATP Tour finals, big strong player with some major weapons. Maybe Ostapenko’s success has helped to inspire this re-awakening.

  • Hartt · May 19, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    Time to start a new thread.

    Halep just beat Sharapova in 3 sets. There is major rejoicing on the Match Call Migrants site, except for one poor guy who was rooting for Maria. The rest of us were solidly for Simona, including 1 woman who was in a restaurant and let out a whoop when she heard the news, bringing smiles from the other patrons.

    Let’s hope the final with Svitolina is an entertaining one.

  • catherine · May 19, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    Well, I wouldn’t have minded if Maria had won. You can’t get too obsessive about players or bear grudges forever. Maria’s paid the price for her doping and that’s it.

    I thought she did well after her marathon yesterday in taking Simona to 3 sets. And Simona’s got plenty of time left to win tournaments and Maria hasn’t.

    Fans baffle me sometimes – is their enthusiasm based on what kind of person they imagine their idols to be ? In reality they might be very different and maybe not so likeable. And yes, I know I follow Kerber, but it’s because I’m interested in the way she plays and stuff around it – what kind of person she is privately I’ve no idea and I’ll never know, or particularly want to.

    As for the final, I’d like a good close match, not too bothered who wins. Svitolina’s pc I found interesting. She’s becoming more professional, serious about her game and careful in what she says.

  • Hartt · May 19, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    Catherine, the enthusiasm for Halep’s win had more to do with people supporting her than bearing a grudge against Maria for her doping. One woman has been a keen Simona fan for several years and one guy is Romanian. I have never been a Maria fan, I don’t enjoy her style of play, the way she acts on the court or her shrieking. Although today I was also put off by Simona’s loud grunting. So, to be honest, I may have been more invested in this match than some others. But tomorrow I will be rooting for Simona over Elina, although I like Elina just fine.

    I think as long as people don’t get nasty with one another, being a fan adds enjoyment to watching matches.

  • Dan Markowitz · May 19, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Hi,

    Catherine and Hartt, I like reading your comments, but if you can let a new post be about the subject of the post for a couple of days before you start commenting on subjects not related to the post, it’d be much appreciated. For those two days, you can post on the last post before the current one.

    Regarding Gulbis, he’s my favorite, I have to admit. I just find him very dramatic. I see that he was named after Ernest Hemingway and that makes sense to me as his mother was/is an actress and there’s something theatrical about Gulbis. I’m really rooting he starts an up-the-rankings climb now that he’s had some nice wins.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 19, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    Yes I feel the same way Hartt, Halep has been closer to the major win, suffered more than Svitolina. They both deserve majors but Halep is first on line.

  • catherine · May 20, 2018 at 2:40 am

    Dan- I appreciate what you say but this subject has come up before and it’s part of how T-P is constructed. During a big tournament or when things are very busy I (and others)tend to post on the most recent thread because previous threads are becoming too long or wandering off topic and I don’t want to follow them any more.

    I didn’t see a lot of comments on Gulbis and I figured the discussion was finished so I started there.

    Threads can become a medley here – one topic quickly leads to another.

  • catherine · May 20, 2018 at 2:46 am

    By ‘wandering off topic’ I meant going into areas not totally tennis related.

  • catherine · May 20, 2018 at 3:29 am

    Actually, re fandom and my remarks above, I tell a lie – I do have some idea of who Kerber is as a person, in a general sense, but I’d always be careful what I wrote, about her, not so much for fear of libel but just from common politeness, and that would be true of anyone, whether I happened to know them or not.

    I believe in certain boundaries but it’s easy to cross them without meaning to. Gossip writers of course always mean to. Which is why certain publications have such huge libel funds. The internet is a different matter – you can say anything there, seemingly. I’m thinking of Youtube and other unmoderated sites.

  • Hartt · May 20, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Svitolina just won over Halep in SS. Simona was a total disaster in the first set, Elina won it 6-0. Simona did play much better in the 2nd, she managed to find some fighting spirit. But Elina continued to play well. She generally made good decisions, and I was happy to see her venture to the net a few times.

  • catherine · May 20, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Hartt -I couldn’t watch the match so will catch up highlights. What happened ?

    I can’t say I’m terribly surprised. Elina impressed me yesterday and I’ve seen Simona do this before. Something similar in Stutgart I think and a couple of times last year. She seems to run out of ideas and even physical ability. Strange.

    Elina had some dips earlier this year but seems to have got herself together now. She is really very good and getting stronger mentally.

  • catherine · May 20, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Simona took an MTO – why ? I hope she’s not going to pull an injury now. If you go out to play, to me, you’re fit. Even if you’re feeling unwell, you can show some spirit.

    Cahill sounded fed up with her at the occ. Maybe it’s time for them to part. He accused her of not fighting. I don’t know how she can face him after a match like that.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 20, 2018 at 9:46 am

    Svitolina has won 8 finals in a row. She is an extraordinary player. I will never forget seeing her play Larcher De Brito at US Open qualies and she was way down like 0-6 1-5, something really lopsided like that. Then she started to rally and fight and she took over the match. Larcher lost her mind and was crying on the court between points, in such agony and suffering losing that match after that insurmountable lead vanished into defeat. Svitolina showed super human special greatness that late afternoon early evening. She was only about 17 then too.

  • catherine · May 20, 2018 at 9:57 am

    What’s surprising is that Simona had such an easy time until she met Sharapova, couple of short matches and a w/o. Maria played nearly 3 hrs v Ostapenko and still managed to take a set from Halep the next day.

    Simona’s got a week to get ready for RG but her potential opponents aren’t going to forget today.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 20, 2018 at 10:08 am

    Catherine, we can never tell how a tournament evolves. Remember when Safin won US Open he struggled in his first three rounds against less than stellar opponents, five setters and one fifth set tiebreaker and then he found his groove and annihilated top players in the second week. And finally Sampras in the final. Player patterns in a tournament can take some unpredictable curves and veers.

  • catherine · May 20, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Oh Simona has pulled an injury. She had a back problem. Ho hum. In that case w/d and don’t waste everyone’s time. Takes away from Svitolina’s win and makes Simona look bad.

    Something wrong with her fitness if she’s so delicate. This sort of thing really annoys me, sorry. Get a new coach and new team including a new physio. Simona is one of the most injured top players.

    At least Madison Keys w/d before her match, knowing she wasn’t fit to compete. Angie retired early during her match when it was obvious she was in pain, so no shame there. Others have done the same.

  • Joe Blow · May 20, 2018 at 10:47 am

    During big tournaments it might be cool to lock in a men’s discussion, and a separate women’s discussion.
    Going from Gulbis to Halep is off topic, and the thread below is it all about the women’s draw..if someone’s interested in women’s matches and read the previous days thread, they’ll find your updates
    No offense to Catherine and Hartt, respect etc your fandom. But going from discussing men’s tennis to women’s is off putting for me..

  • catherine · May 20, 2018 at 11:11 am

    Joe – really, it can’t be too difficult for you to follow discussions here which moves from one aspect of the tennis to another. And as for ‘locking in’ men’s tennis and segregating women’s, that’s preposterous and I would stop coming here. The game’s the game and if you find comments on women’s tennis ‘off-putting’ to read, then just skip them. Talk about regressing. Conversations in real life roam around. Same here.

    When you go to a big tournament you’ll find both men and women playing, very often on courts adjacent to each other and, shock horror, often on the same day. No problem surely in discussing those matches on the same thread.

    This is how T-P works – to separate men’s and women’s tennis would be technically difficult I imagine and against the spirit of the site.

    And as for ‘respecting my fandom’, I find that downright insulting. Both Hartt and I follow tennis – ie men’s and women’s. I’m not having you deciding where my comments go.

    Neither Scoop nor Dan are enormous fans of the women’s game but neither have suggested, as yet, that we ‘lock in’ discussion on men, leaving women out in the cold, which is something which I would have baulked at 30 years ago and certainly am not prepared to countenance now. I don’t know any tennis site which does anything like that.

  • Joe Blow · May 20, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Like Gulbis too..one of those guys who has to battle his mind, as well as his strokes..
    But after the thread being hijacked, Gulbis talk peters out

  • catherine · May 20, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Why aren’t you watching the men’s final ? I’m sure there will be separate thread for that.

    The Gulbis piece was up or a day or so and there weren’t a huge number of comments so it was used as the most recent. There was no ‘highjacking’. I recall you tried to pull that one before, accusing me of highjacking the conversation to talk about Kerber. That was rubbish too.

    No one’s stopping you taking about Gulbis.

  • Scoop malinowski · May 20, 2018 at 11:37 am

    I’m a big supporter and follower of women’s tennis and always make a point to see Hsieh play singles or doubles. Did anyone notice Sock broke up with the gf and us going hatless. These are big moves. Curious to see how this affects his results.

  • catherine · May 20, 2018 at 11:54 am

    Scoop – I could tell from crystal ball months ago that Sock and gf would break up. They should have asked my advice 🙂

  • Dan Markowitz · May 20, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    What I would like to do is before a tournament, have a post about the tournament and any inherent story lines and then any comments regarding the tournament can go in that post. Other post dealing with players or other subjects would be separate from the tournament post and that would make it more organic, less confusing, hopefully.

  • catherine · May 20, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Dan – you might be able to do that, I’m not against it, but it’s pretty difficult separating out ‘players’ from tournament ‘story lines’, just as one example. And which tournaments ? Just GSs ? My feeling is not change too much here and because the structure is vertical, not horizontal, it may mean scrolling way down the pages to find an appropriate thread.

    Now, if someone wanted to comment on the men’s final, which is currently in 3rd set, where would they put it ? Or wait until it’s finished and there’s a new thread ?

    I’m more or less happy the way things are because I find no problem negotiating the site. Clearly some other people do.

    It’s serendipitous – like so much in life.

  • Hartt · May 20, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    Dan, then why don’t you set up a post about an upcoming tournament so the comments related to it can go there? But one of the problems with the older threads is that they can get so long that it takes forever to find the latest posts.

    Joe,as far as separating posts about women’s and men’s tennis, that is just silly. It is easy enough to simply skip posts you aren’t interested in. Posts on this site skip from topic to topic all the time.

  • catherine · May 20, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    Hartt – yes, the length of threads can be a problem and I must say I avoided one recently because it went in a direction I didn’t want to follow – but we’ve been assured that won’t happen in future.

    As I mentioned above – is Dan’s plan just for upcoming tournaments in general or specific events ? I can see difficulties there. What if I wanted to talk about Nuremburg, or a similar tournament, which hardly registers on the radar ?

    Going from topic to topic is one of the things I like about this site. It’s the way my mind works.

    Did you watch the men’s final ? Seems Nadal wasn’t going to be overthrown just yet.

  • Chazz · May 20, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Scoop, where did you hear Sock and his gf broke up? I can’t find it anywhere. It might be a positive for him.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 20, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    Now how could you possibly know that Catherine? A broke college student and a millionaire pro athlete is a perfectly balanced love connection 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 20, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    Chazz it was speculated somewhere so I checked Sock’s Instagram page and lo and behold he did delete all of the pictures with her and there were many of them together since late last summer/fall. This week in Rome he was with his brother.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 20, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    I’m the last one to try to keep this site in a certain order. Like Catherine, I like the spontaneity of various posts, unlimited to whatever we feel like talking about, whether it’s a Futures, Challenger, press conference interview from over a decade ago, a quote by a legend in an old tennis book, a match that day or a match at the park in a local tournament. We are not like any other tennis site, we don’t want to be. Hopefully that’s part of our appeal.

  • Chazz · May 20, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    Wow Scoop, she deleted all pictures of him from her instagram too. Seems like a bitter break-up.

    Zverev should’ve beaten Nadal today. He had him on the ropes until a long rain delay turned it around in the 3rd. Really lucky break for Nadal.

  • catherine · May 21, 2018 at 4:08 am

    Scoop – I, too, like the spontaneity of posts, you can learn a few interesting things along the way – and another reason I like T-P is that comments never descend to the personally offensive and downright disgusting stuff you come across on other sites, even reputable ones where you’d expect moderators.

    At my time of life I’ve ceased to surprised or shocked at anything really, but there are some rocks it’s better to leave rather than lift and find the unpleasant creatures crawling around underneath.

    On another note – Raonic’s withdrawn from Paris – may be old news but I’ve just seen it. He’s clearly looking at W’don. No further news on Murray.

    Simona downplayed her back in Rome, which makes her loss look worse in a way. Some press person asked Elina if she didn’t think the first set was ‘strange’ ?
    Elina: ‘well, it didn’t seem strange to me’.

    Elina’s footwork is excellent – she looks really fit and I don’t see any reason she shouldn’t do well on grass. She also recalled that losing to Bouchard in the juniors at W’don was a turning point for her. She felt completely demolished.

  • catherine · May 21, 2018 at 5:56 am

    Ashleigh Barty’s singles career has stalled a little but her doubles is going strong – she’s started playing with a new partner, Demi Schuurs, and they won Rome, the first tournament they’ve entered together. Ash may turn out one of the great doubles players. Don’t know if she plays mixed.

  • Hartt · May 21, 2018 at 7:34 am

    Catherine, because I am a Sascha fan, I watched that final very closely. In the decider it looked like the unthinkable would happen and Zverev would actually win against Rafa. But when there was the long rain delay, one had the feeling that Rafa would come back very focused, with a clear idea of what he wanted to do, and that is exactly what happened. Sascha said he felt tired during the rain delay and by the time he got going after it, the match was over.

    But to play so well against Rafa on clay is a big achievement, and Rafa had high praise for the youngster following the match. With the No. 2 seeding in Paris, Sascha, given his current level, should go deep in RG.

    Raonic is having an on-going problem with his meniscus. He said earlier that they are “managing” it, but I suspect the injury is more serious than he is acknowledging. The injury to his meniscus last fall kept him off the practice courts for 6 weeks, leading to his slow start of the season. I recently updated my notes on Milos, and I now have 3 pages on his injuries. After his foot surgery in the spring of 2015 he has had one injury after another.

  • catherine · May 21, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Hartt you’re going to be an expert on sports injuries – 3 pages on Milos’ problems ! I have to agree with something you said before – he just doesn’t have the right body build to become a dominant player. Shame – must be depressing for him. He can be so good intermittently.

    Isn’t it time Sascha stopped being a ‘youngster’ ? He looks more mature now. Denis is still one. You might adopt that new German boy – Molleker ? He’s 17.

    Odd stat: Svitolina is 6-0 v Halep and 6-0 v Kerber.

  • catherine · May 21, 2018 at 8:13 am

    Julia G is losing in the 1st round N’berg to Kr Pliskova. Clay is just not her surface.

  • catherine · May 21, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Julia lost in 3 sets, 2 t/bs final sets, and served 12 aces, so not too bad. There are good losses and bad losses as I’m sure Simona would agree.

    I’m interested to see how Sloane does in N’berg, where she’s top seed.

  • Hartt · May 21, 2018 at 11:11 am

    Catherine, Sascha has been out of my youngsters list for some time, and in my top favourites. I agree, despite his age he is no longer a youngster.

    I have so many youngsters to keep track of that one must graduate – hit 22 years, or like Sascha, have great results – or go way down the rankings, to open up a spot for a new player. I will keep the 17-year-old German in mind because a few of “my” youngsters will turn 22 this year.

    I keep extensive notes on Milos, Denis and Felix. I may not know much about other players’ injuries, but unfortunately, am an expert on Milos’ – it is why I get annoyed when people claim he isn’t really injured. I can cite chapter and verse on tourneys he has played when injured when he should have withdrawn.

    I am starting notes on Sascha, am so excited about him as a player. He is already having great results this season and, if he can avoid injury, I think he will have an amazing season.

  • Hartt · May 21, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Interesting to hear that Julia is not good on clay. I did wonder what happened with that match.

  • catherine · May 21, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Julia, with her great serve and good net play, is best on a fastish surface – she skipped Rome and probably won’t do much at RG. You’d think she’d do well at W’don and US Open but she gets the GS yips.

    Germans must be thrilled with Sascha and their new up-and-comer but what they are really yearning for is another Steffi. No sign of that unfortunately. Maybe her legend is just too overwhelming. Boris and Steffi coming along almost together was a remarkable coincidence.

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