Gulbis sets up Nadal tie
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:05
Gulbis had to fight back from a set down to beat Kiefer, the former world number four from Germany, but progressed through to a second-round showdown with Nadal thanks to a 5-7 6-4 7-5 win.
The 20-year-old Latvian will have his work cut out to overcome Nadal, though, with the Spanish ace in buoyant mood after on Sunday receiving his trophy for being the number one player in the world.
The 22-year-old Mallorcan, who has received a first-round bye has won eight singles titles this year, including Wimbledon, Roland Garros and the Olympics, while he also helped Spain reach the Davis Cup final.
Aside from Gulbis, Radek Stepanek also made it through his first-round tie on Sunday and he also now faces a daunting task in the shape of second-round opponent Roger Federer, the world number two.
The Czech at least had an easier time of it than Gulbis, thrashing Argentinian Monaco 6-1 6-1 in double-quick time.
The other matches played on Sunday were in the final round of qualifiers, with Olivier Rochus, Victor Hanescu, Robby Ginepri, Florent Serra and Steve Darcis all progressing through.
Rochus beat Guillermo Canas 7-5 6-3, Hanescu eased past Julien Benneteau 6-4 6-3, Ginepri defeated Eduardo Schwank 7-6 (7-2) 6-4, Serra saw off Jose Acasuso 6-4 6-4 and Darcis knocked out Simone Bolelli 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-2).
Ivan Ljubicic’s tournament is already over though after the former world number three fell to Marcel Granollers 7-5 7-5 in his qualifier.