LOS ANGELES, USA – Ernests Gulbis has broken a five game losing streak while Richard Berankis remains searching for his first singles win on his return from injury following the opening round of the Farmers Classic.
Playing against tournament fifth seed Xavier Malisse of Belgium, Gulbis was able to claim his first win since May, taking the match in three sets; 2-6 6-3 7-6 (5).
Gulbis’ serve was on target, firing down 13 aces whilst winning 78% of points on his first serve. Interestingly, it was Malisse who looked to have the upper hand throughout, breaking Gulbis twice while the Latvian would only return the favor once.
With his mental game constantly coming under the spotlight, Gulbis showed no reason for anyone to question it on Tuesday, holding out when it mattered in the decisive tie-breaker in the deciding third set.
The news however was not so good for his Lithuanian neighbor Berankis. In the battle of the young stars, the Lithuanian was outgunned by 19-year old American Ryan Harrison in three sets; 7-6 (4) 5-7 3-6. It is his second first round exit in as many weeks, following on from a significant layoff with injury.
Harrisonwas able to push his opponent to break point nine times, following through on five occasions. At the other end of the court, Berankis could only manage to break Harrison twice – on the two times that break point arose.
In the second round Gulbis will come up against American qualifier Daniel Kosakowsi who bet another American qualifier, Tim Smyczek 2-6 6-1 6-3 in the opening round.