|French Open 2014|
|Tomas Berdych  (CZE)||vs||Ernests Gulbis  (LAT)|
ScheduleTuesday, 3 June 2014 at 14:00 GMT / 15:00 UK / 19:30 IST
VenueCourt Suzanne Lenglen
In any other tournament, the quarter final match-up probably should have read: Berdych vs Federer. But Latvian Ernests Gulbis has thrown the form book out the window, and is finally showing his obvious and longstanding potential on the big stage. He edged past the Swiss great in the fourth round in a five set duel, to keep a Tuesday afternoon appointment with Czech number one Tomas Berdych, in the second of the quarter final matches on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
During his ten year professional career, Gulbis has reached previously lofty heights, but by his own admission didn't have the right attitude to maintain a top 30 ranking. After his ranking dived through the floor in 2013, he has since made amends, focused hard on improvement, maintained a solid work ethic, and the results have paid off. He's now inside the top 20, and has two titles to his name during 2014, both on French soil (Marseille and Nice). He's in good form, and will provide seriously tough opposition to his Czech opponent. Gulbis has made a quarter final previously at Roland Garros, way back in 2008, losing to Novak Djokovic in four.
Tomas Berdych is also in great shape, and won't bend or buckle easily. He's been at the quarter final stage before, and in 2010 he even got to the last four, falling over to Swede Robin Soderling in a tough five set semi final. We previewed his earlier match up against Roberto Bautista Agut, and in the end, he got home comfortably in that one. In his last match against the tall John Isner, he grabbed a service break in each set, to come home the stronger 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. A business like performance. He's looking like he should be a guaranteed regular in these big events come quarter finals time, and his record is starting to mount up consistently now.
This match will be a combination of physical power, mental toughness and a never say die attitude to playing each point on its merits. Put it this way, by the end of Tuesday, neither player will be left wondering what may have been. On the lower side of the draw, the winner here will go on to face either Novak Djokovic or Milos Raonic for a place in the final. It's all high stakes from here on in.
Currently, Tomas Berdych leads the head-to-head by four matches to two. Their last meeting was back in February at Rotterdam (indoor hard court), where Berdych got home in a straight sets semi final win (6-3, 6-4), before going on to win that tournament defeating Maran Cilic in the final. The duo have met once only on clay, and that result went the way of Berdych, a straight sets victory at Nice during 2011. On current and past form, it would be hard to go past Berdych in this one. Gulbis does have the mental advantage of having ousted Federer, and this could provide him with the incentive to go one further, and may give Berdych some lingering doubts when the heat goes on.
So on that note, I'll go with Gulbis in five sets, but it will be close.