A Latvian named Gulbis is making a name in the professional sports world by hitting a little ball. But this time it’s not Latvian-American professional golfer Natalie Gulbis.
This time it’s 19-year-old Latvia-born tennis player Ernests Gulbis, who surprised fans and his opponents Sept. 2 by breaking into the final 16 in men’s singles play at the U.S. Open.
Gulbis beat Spain’s Tommy Robredo 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 in a quick 91-minute third-round match in New York, according to the official Web site of the U.S. Open. Robredo was seeded eighth in the U.S Open, while Gulbis currently is ranked 88th by the Association of Tennis Professionals.
In his first round match, the right-handed Gulbis defeated 30th-seeded Potito Starace of Italy 7-5, 7-6, 6-3. In the second round, Gulbis bested Germany’s Michael Berrer 7-6, 6-2, 6-1.
The 6-foot, 3-inch (1.91-meter) Gulbis, according to the Association of Tennis Professionals, has made USD 138,935 this year. His career singles record is 8 wins and 15 losses, while his career doubles record is 4-7.
When Gulbis was 12 years old, he began training in Germany under former Croatian pro Nikola Pilic. Gulbis began playing professionally in 2004.
Gulbis next faces Spain’s Carlos Moya in a fourth round match scheduled for Tuesday morning, Sept. 4. Moya is seeded 17th. Whoever wins heads to the quarter-finals.
Gulbis is not the only Latvian who has been competing in the U.S. Open. Andis Juska, 22, beat Antony Dupuis of France 6-3, 6-3 in the first round men’s singles qualifier, but fell to Go Soeda of Japan in the second round, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
Meanwhile, Latvia’s Līga Dekmeijere, 24, was paired with Ukraine’s Julia Vakulenko in women’s doubles play. They lost 6-2, 6-4 in the first round to the 14th-seeded pair of Agnes Szavay of Hungary and Vladimira Uhlirova of the Czech Republic.
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