Sports in brief - 2011-05-26

  • 2011-05-25

A quarter-final appearance from Ernests Gulbis in the Open Nice Cote D’Azur in the week leading up to the French Open did nothing more than create false expectations, as the Latvian blew out during the opening day’s action at Roland Garros on Sunday. Drawn against Slovakia’s Blaz Kavcic, Gulbis’ stay in Paris lasted all of 116 minutes as the Slovak blew him off the court 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. At no stage did Gulbis look like winning, hitting 55 unforced errors, which included nine double faults. Less than a week out from Roland Garros, Gulbis was producing his best tennis since January, knocking off Italian Fabio Fognini and Uzbek Denis Istomin on the way to a quarter-final showdown with world no. 8 and tournament second seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. It was here that Gulbis’ run was halted as the Czech prevailed 6-1, 6-4. Gulbis’ current world ranking of 83 may now drop further at the completion of the French Open next Sunday.

Young Lithuanian tennis sensation Richard Berankis failed to achieve his goal of returning to action in time for the French Open this week, with a CT scan revealing a stress fracture of his right pubic bone. Berankis has been out of action since the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami back in March, when he first began complaining of pain in his groin. He later revealed to his fans via his Facebook page that his recovery was going strongly and that he hoped to return to action at the French Open. However, he again used Facebook to inform his fans that the results of the CT scan will see him remain on the sidelines for a now indefinite period as he waits for the bone to heal. It has been a significant setback for the 20-year-old this season, with pundits predicting Berankis to make significant moves into the top echelon of tennis players by year’s end. His current ranking sees him placed at 78 in the world.

Liepaja Lauvas and Rudupis have signaled a changing of the guard in the Latvian and Lithuanian domestic basketball leagues by claiming the bronze medals in their respective competitions. In the Latvian Basketball League (LBL), Liepaja benefited from some smart late season acquisitions, seeing them fill their roster out with a host of foreign talent. The move paid big dividends as they shocked Barons/O! Karte by taking the best-of-five match series in three games, winning 100-79, 81-71 and the final match 93-88. It is the first time the men from the seaside have medaled since 2000, when they also claimed bronze. The news was even bigger down in Lithuania, where Rudupis won a Lithuanian Basketball League (LKL) medal for the first time in their club’s history. It is no small feat for a club representing Prienai, a city with a little over 10,000 inhabitants. Playing against Juventus, Rudupis also only needed three matches to wrap up the series, winning the games 79-65, 98-73 and 84-83. It is the first time since the 2003-2004 season that Siauliai has not claimed the bronze medal, and also the first time since 1998-1999 that Siauliai has failed to make it past the quarter-finals.