|French Open 2014|
|Ernests Gulbis  (LAT)||vs||Novak Djokovic  (SRB)|
ScheduleFriday, 6 June 2014 at 11:00 GMT / 12:00 UK / 16:30 IST
VenueCourt Philippe Chatrier
Ernest Gulbis, the talented Latvian has swept through the 2014 French Open like a rampant tidal wave. On Friday, he'll be up against the immovable Serbian wall that is Novak Djokovic. It promises to be a match of the highest calibre. Take no prisoners, leave nothing in the tank. Huge rewards are at stake for both men.
These two have a history which goes way back into the teenage years, when they were both members of the Niki Pilic Tennis Academy based in Munich Germany. They've since taken contrasting paths throughout their careers, and it now culminates in a grand slam semi final, more than a decade later.
Many are saying that Djokovic is primed and ready to win the only grand slam to elude him. That's a very bold statement considering that the reigning world number one, and eight time champion is still in the mix. Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Gulbis is a completely different player than he was a year ago, or even five years ago. He's discovered more about his game under the watchful eye of Austrian coach Gunther Bresnik. He dismantled both Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych, and has a game well suited to clay. Novak probably has the complete all round game, and his court coverage and powerful return of serve gives him advantages over most other players.
Djokovic leads the head-to-head match up four matches to one. Of significance, Gulbis' only other grand slam quarter final was a loss to Djokovic back in 2008. A long time ago yes, but that one was close: 7-5 7-6(3) 7-5. The last time these two met was back in 2011, Djokovic cleaning up in straight sets at Indian Wells. However, a lot has happened in three years, so those results probably aren't as meaningful as say any results in 2014 between the two, which of course, haven't occurred. Gulbis will have to play like a man possessed to get past Djokovic, and in his mind, the 1-4 match statistics count for little. As far as he's concerned, it's reset time: 0-0.
I can't help but feel that the French Open of 2014 will be another 1 meets 2 clash. A top of the table encounter between the world's two best players. I'll go with Djokovic in three, maybe four at a pinch, but I'll certainly enjoy seeing how Gulbis goes in this one.