(February 23, 2014) Ernest Gulbis extended his perfect record in finals to 5-0 when he beat defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (5), 6-4 to win the Open 13 title in Marseille.
The third seed Gulbis upset top seed Richard Gasquet in the semifinals going on to win his first ATP title since the St. Petersburg Open this past October.
Gulbis kept the pressure on Tsonga by playing aggressively, coming to the net. The Latvian hit 14 aces with 41 winners against the Frenchman.
For his efforts this week, the current world 23 will move into the top 20.
“My long-term goal in tennis isn’t to be Top 20” Gulbis said. “It’s to be No. 1. Anything less than that wouldn’t make me fully satisfied. I don’t want to get to 30 years old, look back on my career and say I didn’t make something of it. Everybody’s looking for satisfaction in life and my joy and happiness is based on my tennis career.
“I think [the top players] feel threatened by my game, because they know if I serve well and I’m aggressive, then it’s tough to play against me. I don’t feel I’m in the same league as the [Top 4] yet, I need to prove it. Game-wise, I think that I can be.
“It’s a really nice small record for me. 5-0 is really good. I remember when I used to play Futures and Challengers, I think I lost maybe one or two finals. When I get into finals I really have good form and good confidence and play my best tennis. Today I was serving really well and in the tie-break I was feeling really, really confident.
“I’m very happy right now, but the reality is that you’re back on court in two days. I want to keep both feet on the ground. There’s a couple of big tournaments coming up. It’s been a great week, but I want to build on it.”
For the favorite Tsonga who was seeking a third Open 13 championship, said he had a good week. “It was a high quality match today and I have no regrets. He was very solid and took a lot of risks. It was a positive week for me. It was important to get some matches under my belt. This is important for the confidence. Ernests has a great game and can beat the best players in the world.”