Ernests Gulbis came back from 1-4 in the first set to defeat World No 25 Hyeon Chung 7-6(2), 6-2 in straight sets.
World No. 22, Hyeon Chung began the 2019 season in the worst manner possible after crashing out of the Tata Open Maharashtra here on Wednesday. Ernests Gulbis defeated the Korean after staging a comeback of epic proportions in the Round-of-16 match to send Chung packing.
Chung—seeded second in the tournament— got off to a spectacular start in the first set. He broke Gulbis in the first game, held his serve in the second and earned a second break point in the third to make it 3-0. In the next game, he played out a remarkable hold after trailing 15-30.
Just when Chung looked like running away with the set, after 5 games and 22 minutes, Gulbis got off the mark after holding his serve for the first time in the fifth game. Till that point, Gulbis had been hit by a high number of unforced errors from his end and he was slow off his tracks. Chung used that weakness to his advantage before the Latvian turned the tables around.
Serving to stay in the match in seventh, the 30-year-old Latvian put in a huge serving game to stay in the match. However, Game 8 proved to be the turning point of the match when he broke Chung’s serve. The World No 95—in the next five games—broke Chung’s serve two more times and bailed himself out of trouble. The last break forced the game into a tie-breaker which Gulbis comfortably won 7-2 and closed the set 7-6.
After conceding the first set from a commanding position, the onus was now on Chung to pull off a stunner in the second. Both the players started off well by holding their first two serves. Despite the scorecard suggesting that the players were on equal terms, it was clearly evident from Chung’s body language that he was not feeling a 100 percent. He had seemed to tired down and wasn’t able to move well like the first set. Moreover, the pink medical tape strapped to his back suggested that he was still in some pain.
The defining moment of the match arrived in the fifth game when Gulbis broke Chung’s serve for the fourth time in the match. From thereon, it was only a matter of time before the Latvian wrapped up the game. Serving for the set in Game 8, he put in a huge serve that was too ferocious for Chung to handle and bagged the contest 7-6(2), 6-2 in approximately a hour and a half.
Ernests Gulbis will now play Ivo Karlovic—who beat Evgeny Donskoy 6-4, 7-5, in the fourth quarter-final of the tournament.
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